If you're a wedding photographer, this will curl your toes. This was reported in the World's Best Photography Magazine yesterday.
Equity research analyst Todd J. Remis felt that H&H Photographers, of the Bronx, failed to document the last 15 minutes of his wedding. He was also disappointed that the wedding video was only two hours long, instead of documenting the entire six hours of the wedding and reception.
So he's suing.
But get this. The wedding took place in 2003—and he sued in 2009. And Todd doesn't just want his money back; he wants H&H to pay $48,000 to recreate the wedding so some other photographer can document it.
Which is weird enough. But there's more: the formerly happy couple has already divorced, and the bride (understandably, from the looks of things) has fled back to her native Latvia.
And Todd "Miss Havisham" Remis apparently doesn't even know where she lives.
So what is he planning to do, force her to participate in the fantasy wedding recreation against her will? Track her down with Latvian private detectives? One wonders.
Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of State Supreme Court in Manhattan failed to dismiss the case. There may be an explanation for this; perhaps—we're speculating—she has suffered a blood clot in her brain that has caused her to forget all words that begin with with prefix friv-.
Granted, there's been a persistent misinformation campaign in the U.S. by moneyed "special interests" to promulgate the myth of the frivolous lawsuit, in order to turn public opinion against legal remedies. The trend is well documented in Susan Saladoff's recent documentary "Hot Coffee." (The title stems from the fact that the little old lady who sued McDonald's after she was burned by hot coffee actually had a very good case.) Still, just because many apparently "frivolous" lawsuits aren't, doesn't mean that they can't be.
The lawsuit is apparently casting a considerable blight over the golden years of H&H co-founder Curt Fried, who fled persecution by the Nazis in 1939, when he was 15. "I had a good life, thank God," said the now 87-year-old photographer, "and at the end of my life this hits me in the face." He and his son, who now runs the studio, have already spent almost as much in legal fees as the outrageous lawsuit sought to recover—$50,000. You wedding photographers know how likely it is that they had that kind of money lying around begging to be wasted.
As for the plaintiff, maybe he's lucky—it's not always so blatantly obvious when psychological help is called for. Say, with personal issues such as "getting over it" and "moving on." Although it sounds like it might be a challenge for even a skilled therapist to advance the notion that "it's not the wedding photographer's fault she left you." Don't you wish you could gently warn a) the guy's next fiancée, and b) that couple's prospective wedding photographer? Let's hope both those parties Google his name before they get in too deep.
Meanwhile, if you're a normal person without a vindictive streak or unusual delusions and you're planning a wedding near New York City, you might want to check out H&H Photographers.
(Thanks to many tipsters)
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Andrew Burday: "This whole thing is pathetic. It's not fair to criticize the judge, though. Her ruling, which is available here, makes it clear that she was ruling on specific points of law. She was not ruling on the general frivolousness of the case. For her probable personal opinion on the matter, see her footnotes."
Featured Comment by Soeren Engelbrecht: "For the benefit of doubt—and to preserve my last remains of faith in humanity—I will assume that all that I have so far learnt about time zones has been completely wrong, and that today is not actually November 4 in the U.S., but April 1st. What a great sense of humour you have, Mike—thanks for a good laugh. :-)"
Featured Comment by Daniel: "If you read the judgement as provided by Andrew, the judge has thrown out 6 out of the 8 claims by the plaintiff:
...ORDERED that defendants' motion to dismiss (motion sequence number 001) is granted [*7] to the extent that the second, third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth causes of action are dismissed as to all defendants;
"The claims that were allowed to proceed are Breach of Contract, and Intentional Misrepresentation/Fraud. For claim 1,
Although plaintiff seeks damages beyond the contract price [FN5], at a minimum, plaintiff has adequately alleged damages in the amount of the contract. Thus, the breach of contract claim has been sufficiently pleaded.
"For claim 4,
Plaintiff's allegations that the representations were made by defendants and known to be false are sufficient to adequately state a claim of fraud and prevent dismissal at this juncture. Thus, the motion to dismiss the fourth cause of action is denied.
"I'm no lawyer but I infer that the judge's hands were tied. Without ruling on the facts of the case, she has to let claims 1 and 4 proceed."