A couple from Texas has been ordered to pay $1.08 million dollars after they destroyed Andrea Polito’s business over a $125 fee that they claimed was “hidden.” How did things get so crazy? Sit down, it’s a wild ride from start to finish.
The couple was adamant that they would need high-quality photographs as the bride was a beauty blogger and planned to use the photographs online for her own business. They spoke via email for weeks before the ceremony to make sure that the bride and Polito were on the same page. Everything was going well…until a few weeks after the ceremony.
The high-resolution pictures were ready, but the couple still hadn’t submitted their order form, chosen a cover photo, or paid the $125 fee for the cover and the work that involved for the photographs.
The couple was outraged, and even though the fee had been included in the paperwork they had signed before the ceremony, they contested. After a few weeks of angry emails, Polito decided to waive the fee out of professional courtesy – the paperwork was on her side, but at the end of the day she didn’t want this to drag on – only the couple didn’t stop there.
They proceeded to attack Polito on social media and even went to their local news station to smear her business, claiming that she had “held the photos hostage.”
It ruined Polito’s business, and after two years of dwindling customers, she was forced to shut down her business…but she wasn’t going down without a fight.
She took them to court with a defamation lawsuit and won.
No one is saying you can’t go and write a review. Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence. Things you put on the Internet to attack a business have real-world consequences and that really resonated with the jury. You can’t go and burn someone’s house down and claim free speech.” Her attorney said.
The couple claimed that they were just “fighting back” against being wronged, but the jury didn’t agree when presented with the things the couple had written about Polito.
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