The lawsuit contended that the complaints about Polito's 12-year photography business "burned her business to the ground;" a Dallas county jury unanimously found on Friday that the Moldovans were guilty of defamation and malicious intent towards Polito, with damages amounting to $1 million.
The jury found blogger Neely Moldovan and her husband, Andrew, guilty of defamation after they hurled damaging statements that led to the closure of Polito's studio.
In an interview with NBC 5 in January 2015, the Moldovan's said the photographer was "holding their pictures hostage" and that Polito's office manager told them unless they paid the fee for a cover their photo album would be forfeited. The $125 dollars was for the cost of a wedding album cover, which has a variety of iterations and so comes separately, as Polito had reportedly explained to the couple when they booked her and had outlined in their contract.
Polito said in the complaint that the Moldovans disparaged her by saying she "cheated", "scammed", and "blatantly stole money while holding pictures ransom and then adding on extra fees that weren't in [the] original contract".
The couple was apparently upset about various aspects of Polito's work, but she said they responded by lying about her online and on the air, ruining her business. "I feel good about it, it's what's right". The couple was suppose to select a cover photo and submit an order form, which they had not done. They took that away from me, ' she said. "It was really hard".
Following the decision, Polito told The Dallas Morning News she's determined to rebuild her company.
"Statements like, "I'm pretty sure her business is ruined, ' 'I hope this goes viral, ' 'feeling excited, ' and 'justice has been served" are not the actions of a concerned and hurt bride; they are actions of an individual trying to take someone down and instigate a lynch mob of negativity across the nation".More news: United States to North Korea: Let's talk
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"No one is safe from this", she said.
The photographer says she's planning to rebuild her business but will be shifting her focus toward helping other photographers grow their businesses.
The photographer went from booking 75 and 100 weddings a year, to just two.
"I felt completely dead", she said.
Polito's attorney Dave Wishnew of Gruber Elrod Johansen Hail Shank LLP said that the jury concluded the case after a few hours of deliberation. "You know, it was my passion, and I loved my clients and I loved when I did".
The couple has an option to appeal, and Polito told Dallas News that she was looking forward to moving on and rebuilding her brand.
The jury sided with Polito in the case, finding the Moldovans liable for defamation, disparagement and civil conspiracy.