The jury found that the couple, Neely and Andrew Moldovan of Dallas, wrongfully attacked Polito through social media over what they claimed were unreasonable fees associated with the delivery of their wedding photos.
"It was really hard,"Polito told CBS-DFW". "I wasn't a new business I was an established business with a reputation that was well-respected in Dallas". Weeks after the event, Polito was being emailed by the bride asking when the photos would be ready.
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. "I wasn't a new business, I was an established business with a reputation that was well-respected in the Dallas community".
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"I'm emotionally exhausted. This has been a very long battle", she said.
'All the name calling, all the bullying.
They agreed that the Moldovans should be held liable for defamation, disparagement, and civil conspiracy. She said in her defamation suit that the Moldovans also "engaged in a smear campaign" against her and made "disparaging and defamatory" statements about her and her company on social media and blogs, saying she "cheated" and "scammed" people.
Photographer wins $1 million defamation lawsuit against unhappy couple
The jury unanimously found the couple acted of out malice in targeting Polito in 2015.
A Dallas County jury deliberated for two hours Friday 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' allegations went viral, damaging Polito's business.
Polito said that if the reported story had been written based on how hurt or upset she was, Neely would not have humiliated her by using false statements.
Polito recently told KTVT she has not photographed a wedding in almost two years and was forced to close her business.
"I was thrilled", Wishnew says of the verdict. "As a small business owner you have two choices - you can either give in every time a client threatens you or you can fight back and that's what I did". "Freedom of speech is not freedom from outcome". "What you say and what you post online has real-world consequences", said Dave Wishnew, Polito's attorney. "You can't go and burn someone's house down and claim free speech".
"Proud to say that after a week long, hard fought trial, the jury returned a verdict of over $1 Million, including punitives, for Andrea Polito, who was defamed by two awful, shameful people", Polito's attorney, Dave Wishnew, writes.
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