DALLAS -- A Dallas wedding photographer has won a $1 million defamation lawsuit after it was determined that a couple who hired her "pursued an extensive social media campaign against her that a jury found was false and malicious."
The case was settled on Monday after the jury found that Neely and Andrew Moldovan "wrongfully attacked" Andrea Polito and her company, Andrea Polito Photography, Inc., according to a press release sent Monday by the law firm of Polito's attorney, David Wishnew.
The couple claimed on social media that there were "unreasonable fees" with their wedding photos when they were delivered by Polito after their October 2014 wedding, according to the lawsuit.
"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," the release said.
In a 2014 TV interview, the Moldovans said Polito was “holding their pictures hostage.” They also said Polito "cheated" and "scammed" them -- comments that went viral on social media and on Neely Moldovan's beauty and lifestyle blog, the lawsuit states.
A Dallas County jury deliberated for two hours Monday and saw evidence in court that "affirmed that Ms. Polito followed the terms of the contract signed by the couple and even sought to further explain the contract and satisfy their demands," the release said.
The Moldovans were found liable for disparagement, defamation, and civil conspiracy. They must now pay Polito $1.08 million in damages.
“Ms. Polito hopes this verdict will reinforce her attempts to repair her reputation, while also sending a message that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences,” Polito's attorney Dave Wishnew said.
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