Couple Ordered to Pay Wedding Photographer $1M

Andrea Polito               CBS Dallas  Fort Worth

They took to social media to complain and said their photos were being "held hostage", according to court documents.

The Dallas jury found Andrew and Neely Moldovan started a major campaign against Polito on social media.

Told the wedding photographer, 'I was proud of my accomplishments, what I have done. "I've shot several Dallas elites". "It's been a fight for myself to get my reputation back".

On July 29, a Dallas County jury awarded Polito a $1.08 million defamation verdict, finding the defendant couple pursued an extensive false and malicious social media campaign against their wedding photographer. He said the couple had no interest in speaking to reporters.

Polito hasn't had work covering weddings in almost two years, which she believes is a result of the Moldovan's campaign to disparage her business.

'My business was destroyed, ' she said.

In the lawsuit, Polito said the couple repeatedly asked for photos despite a stipulation that required customers to submit an order form for their wedding album.

Ms Polito's lawyer said he expected the Moldovans to challenge the verdict.

Meanwhile, the trouble between Polito and the Moldovans began in January 2015 when the newlyweds, Andrew and Neely, accused the photographer of holding their wedding photos "for ransom".

The focus of the dispute was the couple's objection to the contract's stipulation for selecting a $125 photo album cover before the images of the rehearsal dinner and wedding were provided.

In an open letter that was posted on Andrea Polito Photography website, Polito explained that she and her group tried to straighten things and make them right when the disagreement with the Moldovans arose. In a typical year, she would book between 75 and 100 weddings.

The Moldovans were found liable for disparagement, defamation, and civil conspiracy.

The comments, according to the lawsuit, appeared on Neely Moldovan's beauty and lifestyle blog. He said that this case is an example of people needing to be prudent when posting their thoughts on the internet.

Numerous negative reviews that hit online sites like Yelp towards her business have been removed for violating terms of the site, believed to be fraudulent reviews created to defame Polito. "Freedom of speech is not freedom from effect".

"What you say, and what you post online, has real-world consequences", Wishnew said. "You can't go and burn someone's house down and claim free speech".

The couple has an option to appeal, and Polito told Dallas News that she was looking forward to moving on and rebuilding her brand.

"I felt completely dead", Polito said. "What's been so hard the past couple of years has been feeling so ashamed of this story".

If you've hired a wedding photographer and it didn't work out to your satisfaction, and you have the urge to go on an online hate campaign, you might want to think again.

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