Social Media Defamation Claim Results in $1 Million Verdict
Three months after their wedding ceremony, in front of a local television crew, Andrew and Neely Moldovan (a full-time beauty blogger) showed off a box of empty picture frames.
Their photographer was withholding the images, they told NBC affiliate KXAS in January 2015, and was demanding an extra $150 when they’d already paid thousands.
“Wedding photographer holds couple’s pictures hostage,” blared the Daily Mail a few days later.
The Moldovans’ sympathizers descended on photographer Andrea Polito’s review pages, calling her a scam artist, or worse.
Her reputation was ruined, her business dried up and she closed her studio.
And then the story changed.
Polito sued the Moldovans, claiming all they ever had to do to get their glossies was fill out a form, choose options for their wedding album and pay a small charge they had long known about.
The photographer showed the court emails in which she and her employees tried to appease the couple — even as the Moldovans were calling reporters, whipping up a furor on social media and plugging their newfound fame to fans of Neely Moldovan’s beauty blog, Polito said.
On Friday, a jury in Dallas decided that the tale of the ransomed wedding photos was not heartbreaking, and not even true.