In 2014, couple Andrew and Neely Moldovan acquired the services of wedding photographer, Andrea Polito to cover their wedding ceremonies in October.
Prior to the release of the photos, Polito required the couple to submit an order form and choose a photo as cover for the wedding album as part of the standard requirement of the photographer from all her clients. But for some reasons, the Moldovans thought it was too much to ask for so they did not comply.
After several weeks of back and forth following-up for the cover photo and the couple’s objection to pay the album cover fee, Polito thought of just absorbing the cost to satisfy her clients. But to her surprise, she found out that they already contacted several TV stations and said that Polito had put their photos ‘on hold’.
In 2015, the couple was interviewed by KXAS-TV (NBC 5), a television news station in Texas, and expressed that they were not satisfied with the way their wedding photos has been handled by Polito and that the $125 she was charging for the album cover was unacceptable.
However, Polito told Washington Post, “She basically didn’t read her paperwork or contract. She just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t have her high-res images. It’s in bold in our contract.”
Disappointed with the photographer, Neely, as a blogger, started to spread false rumors about her business on social media which spread like ‘wildfire’.
As a result, Polito had lost clients which went from 75-100 per year to almost having none at all which forced her to close the photo studio. She then decided to file a defamation case against the couple which she won.
The jury required the Moldovans to pay $1 million to Polito after being held liable for defamation, disparagement and civil conspiracy.
Polito hopes her case will warn the public of the consequences of spreading false accusations against anyone.
“It affects lives,” she concluded.