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Friday, 04 November 2011

Comments

gad zooks

on occasion I am engaged in conversation by a stranger with a shiny new DSLR. I am almost always happy to chat and if I can pass any advice along it makes my day. If during this conversation I am asked about wedding photography I will say I considered that but opted for a root canal instead...less painful in the long run. God bless those who do it though.

Sadly the legal? system in the United States
has painted themselves into a corner insofar
as such activities. It's all above the money!
How much you can earn by filing stupid lawsuits
and being fettiled by the so legal system which is equally inept; makes one wonder if a kangaroo court might be so much easier. Ironically there doesn't seem to be much difference in this case!

And she left... because?

oh oh Mike..the moron will probably sue you for this.. ;-)

The only way she could actually dismiss it is if the final 15 minutes had been documented and the video was indeed 6 hours long.

She cannot dismiss based on outlandish claims for compensation. That is up to the jury. After all, the plaintif could win and get $50 in damages.

If a novelist made that story up, it would be "implausible!"

That's why we call it the "Excited" States of America.

From the NYT article:

Mr. Remis’s lawyer works for Goodwin Procter, where Mr. Remis’s father, Shepard M. Remis, is a litigation partner. The younger Mr. Remis has testified that he is paying his lawyer himself.

I'm sure Goodwin Procter would have taken the case had Mr. Remis wandered in off the street. I'm also sure Mr. Remis is paying Goodwin Procter full price to pursue his absurd $48,000 claim.

"Equity research analyst," eh?

So, is this character another Wall Street "Master of the Universe" suffering from megalomania, a vast sense of entitlement, and total cluelessness as to what kind of a horse's hind end he looks to the rest of the world?

No wonder so many people think Occupy Wall Street has a case...

Sheesh ! "Let it go !" is not in that person's repertoire...

It's also why I don't shoot weddings. It's bad enough to have to deal with Bridezilla rage and now this stupid hurt ego !@#$ ???

If I was that Latvian bride, i'd keep running till I hit the Pacific ocean...

"And she left... because?"

Stan,
The article didn't say. The story has been reported elsewhere--maybe some other source has more information.

Mike

"If a novelist made that story up, it would be 'implausible!'"

Jeff,
Yes it would be. Just like Game Six of the World Series, which had to happen in real life--nobody would believe it in the movies or a book.

Mike

I think what is equally "sick/sad" is that the judge involved in the case actually allowed it to proceed.

Of the several weddings I've shot I have never stayed the last 15 minutes. Nothing exciting ever happens in those last few minutes anyway. Last dance? Is this an East Coast thing? Reason enough to buy photo specific insurance, crap like this would be covered. Maybe.

I think it's less about "The Way we Were" and more about "I've been unemployed for three years, compensation package is running out, my wife left me and I blame you."

I read this yesterday and was going to save it to my hard drive but couldn't decide where to file it. I created a new folder titled WTF/Douche Bag!

Groomzilla?

Thanks for reminding me that my business liability insurance premium is due next month. I will be happier paying it this time.
I am surprised that H&H does not have such a policy or that it did not cover this. If I were working in that sort of business in that area I would have either that or the phone number of a reliable hit man.

The trouble is, dare I say it, the American legal system perpetuates such litigious attitudes, and worse still we tend to follow what you do hence burglers who injurse themselves whilst screwing your house sue the ass off you !

The judge needs to grow a pair and sentence Todd to twelve years hard labour and his snake oil salesman aka lawyer to 20 years for having the gaul to come to court with such blatant scamming.

I'm curious how the contract that everyone must have signed will come into play in this matter, or really, why it hasn't so far. Did they miss the last 15 minutes because of a time limitation or incompetence? Was Remis promised a 6-hour video and only got a 2-hour version? If these things were in the contract, I'm not sure how the lawsuit would still be allowed to carry forth. You don't get to sue over your feelings about what should have been done, only about what actually was agreed upon if in fact it was not provided.

Sad day for photographers everywhere:

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/4/headlines

"At Wisconsin Assembly Gallery, Concealed Guns OK, But No Cameras, Signs

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin passed a new policy on Thursday to allow lawmakers to carry concealed weapons on the floor of the State Assembly and for the public to have concealed guns in the viewing gallery. At the same time, lawmakers are now barring the public from using cameras or holding signs in the public gallery. On Tuesday, 18 people were arrested for taking photographs inside the Assembly Gallery, including Matt Rothschild, the editor of the Progressive Magazine. Rothschild was arrested after he took out his iPhone to photograph the police arresting someone else for taking a photograph. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, a Democrat, has jokingly suggested an amendment to allow protest signs in the galleries — if they are taped to a weapon."

"Equity research analyst" - says everything you need to know about this cretin. Todd J. Remis and his ilk are a waste of perfectly good carbon.

Recreate the wedding with whom exactly? Does he conveniently have a new fiancee and has come up with a cunning ruse to get the wedding paid for?

I hope this guy gets the legal humiliation he richly deserves and that he's left on the hook for all fees and maybe some damages too. Anything less would be a failure of justice.

It would be a bonus if future Google results for his name are so awful that he has to assume a new identity or forever face ridicule. Though he'd probably try to sue them for defamation.

"she has suffered a blood clot in her brain that has caused her to forget all words that begin with with prefix friv-"

Is that ad hominem?

There is one interesting moment I read elsewhere: the plaintiff (love the term :)) has supposedly been unemployed since 2008. If that's the case, I wonder what guarantees he gave to the lawyers.

The Hot Coffee book illustrates my personal practice of never trying to have an opinion on these types of cases. We simply don't know the actual facts, let alone the guiding law/precedents (which vary from state to state). We only know what is released/reported.

Depending on the contract for the wedding shoot, the plaintiff may be clearly deserving of the re-shoot or other compensation. We simply don't know. As to why he would want the re-shoot, well, that's a whole different can of worms, but he may be entitled to having it opened.

All this does make for fun reading, but I personally try not to judge these things (and pray I don't get jury duty).

Patrick

Having read the judge's ruling, it appears that most of the charges have been dismissed. At this point, some vague charges are left because the judge ruled this was not the time to decide them. They must go forward because they were "properly" filed. But, there is no $48,000 damages award (and most likely won't be). Would it be nice if everything was dismissed? Yes, but the defendants could not show that all the claims were subject to dismissal. In other words, some of the claims need to be heard before they can be thrown out. The sad part, of course, is that this costs precious money and time that the defendants may not be able to afford.

You should verify my reading of it, since I am not in the profession. It appears to be pretty clear.

As usual, the lawyers are the first beneficiaries. I don't live in the USA but nonetheless, I wish somehow this could be fighted. It is time to change this part of the US legal system because is very unfair. Sadly, as we all know, law doesn't mean justice. Occupy the supreme Court!

I suppose it would be cheaper to have the plaintiff liquidated …

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 US, but April 1st. What a great sense of humour you have, Mike - thanks for a good laugh :-)

Actually, $48,000 is probably too little. Todd Remis has probably not allowed for the cost of plastic surgery, for him and his former wife, to restore their looks to exactly how they were eight years ago plus compensation for the trauma of such surgical procedures. And what about the same for the guests who were present? And the cost of compelling them (how?) to undergo the surgery and then attend the re-creation.
This is of course a reduction ad absurdum.
I'm not a lawyer but I suspect that all he could claim for in a case that actually got so far as being listed would be for compensation for emotional distress at the perceived professional failings of H&H. And paying (presumably) without complaint and then waiting 6 years to voice any disatisfaction rather lessens the likely scale of that.
Finally, I am surprised that any professional photographer doesn't have a signing off clause asking at the end of the job for the client to confirm that the service purchased has been provided as contracted.

I would not be surprised if it was the lawyer's idea, not the groom. Ask for the sun, negotiate down to earth with the meter running.

And here we are wondering where our tax money is going.

If you read the opinion, the judge dismissed all of the lawsuit that was possible, and severely limited the possible recovery of plaintiff. Lessons:

1. review your contracts with your lawyer to make sure your duties are clearly defined and limited, and if it is possible to have manditory arbitration of disputes,

2. talk to your insurance agent to be certain you have all the coverage possible for this kind of action, and

3. be certain that the legal costs and insurance costs are included in your calculation of your prices.

... as to why she left-

Mike- ya really don't need much of an imagination with this tool.

@ Soren Engelbrecht - completely off topic.... today is definitely a rogue April 1st in some universe or time zone, because I just saw the special Olympic Games London 2012 posters designed by famous artists - the ancient English phrase "Fyrrr Kynell yrr nott Syrius" burst forth unstopably from my lips.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15577818

Bizzare!
I would like to know if the law suit just came out of the blue one day, or if the groom (or bride) had been going back and forth with the wedding photographer for years trying to resolve the issue. If the former, then it should be dismissed: The groom, for 5 - 6 years, accepted the results of a completed contract and the suit should be dismissed as untimely. If this had been an ongoing dispute between the parties, I suppose the civil statute of limitations for written or oral conracts would control. Either way, I'm sure some politician will seize on the issue and use it to try and persuade us that we should shoot all the lawyers and give the insurance companies a break from this nonsense.

cfw

Seems to me to be no coincidence that he decided to sue in 2008, the same year he lost his job, and he hasn't worked since. So no money, a daddy who's a hot-shot lawyer, hmmm...

This is nothing to do with getting over anything.

I've always had admiration for photographers who dare to do wedding!

Maybe a new Micheal Moore movie in it, but seriously I think the Anglosaxon case based law dating from the Dark ages, might be in for a serious revision. In Holland this would get the poor chap laughed out of court. If he had responded straight away and not after 6 years he might have gotten his money back (might because that would depend on the agreements that were made and what is considerd normal in the business).

Remember the old days of film. If Kodak @#$@$^% up a development they payed for the film, not for the precious holiday shots of your grandma riding a camel (yeps I've just digitaly restored some shots that were molested by Kodak in the 70th). In Holland it's like that for medical blunders as well. You can get rewarded damages but don't expect to live the rest of your life in luxury if your left leg is amputated instead of your right.

Maybe we Europeans are better in accepting the facts of life. People make mistakes. Not everything goes according to plan. Coffee can be hot. And hot glass lookes the same as cold one (first labaratory law).

Greetings, Ed

The judge actually did dismiss and deny what looks to me like 3 elements of the motion (see the end, just above the footnotes where it summarizes what is ORDERED...). I get the impression that she dismissed what she could and was bound by point of law to allow the rest of the motions to stand.

The second paragraph under A. Motion to Dismiss opens with this clarification:

Preliminarily, the Court notes that whether plaintiff will ultimately prevail is not the issue before this Court at this time. "In determining . . . a motion [to dismiss], it is not the function of the court to evaluate the merits of the case." ... Instead, on a motion to dismiss pursuant to CPLR 3211, the pleading is given a liberal construction and the facts alleged therein are accepted as true. ... The motion to dismiss will only be granted if, upon giving the non-moving party every favorable inference, the facts do not fit within any cognizable legal theory.

So this motion did not reflect the merits of the case, but only if this suit was legal when the plaintiff is given every benefit of the doubt as to the facts.

"'she has suffered a blood clot in her brain that has caused her to forget all words that begin with with prefix friv-' Is that ad hominem?"

I would say so, yes. It attacks her competency, not her ruling on the facts, and, as the featured comments indicate, what it implies is probably wrong as well.

Mike

Best comment on the NY Times article, by one TS-B: "Hasn't this guy ever heard of Photoshop?" :P

Au Nguyen- Thanks for posting that! Not an easy feat topping this wedding/photo farce- but the fact that citizens can legally bring concealed firearms to a state assembly, and in turn be arrested for taking a picture (or displaying a sign) there certainly raises the "reality" of these disunited states from laughable to insane.

Nice to see what the judge has actually dismissed and what and why she has allowed parts of the lawsuit to proceed. Otherwise, we'd have another "Oh, those evil lawyers (except when I need one to keep me out of the pokey)" poster-boy case, followed by the predictable "The US legal system is out of control. Everybody is suing everybody."

Living outside the US gives one a different perspective on all the things we Americans consider "flaws" in US society, as well as on what we think of as unique and American.

If the US legal system is too flawed, I suggest a move to Japan. You can still sue, but you needn't worry about getting too much money. As an example, Mitsubishi lost a lawsuit several years ago concerning a defective wheel that came off a heavy truck and killed a mother and injured her children as they were walking down a Yokohama sidewalk. Mitsubishi executives had known about the defect in those wheels from years, but had covered it up. The family of the deceased mother received some piddling amount---around $50000---for her life. The executives at Mitsubishi got fines and 2 year suspended sentences. Mitsubishi itself was fined about $40,000. The husband lost a wife, and the children a mother. The mother is still dead. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20071214a3.html

The often mentioned, more often exaggerated and misunderstood McDonald's coffee case is well-known here, though not the details, nor the legal principles involved. It is used to show the dangers of letting greedy citizens effectively sue irresponsible corporations for amounts that would be an effective deterrent. We can't have that!

A complete dismissal of the complaint would leave the photographer with a difficult path to recover attorney costs. The next step is discovery in which all parties collect the information that they will use at trial. At that point (provided that the facts prove to be ludicrous), the defendant may ask for a summary judgement against the plaintiff and ask for his costs. All very ugly, time-consuming and soul-crushing, but this is the only way that the photographer will ever get his attorney fees paid.

The law is an ass. But any ass is better than no ass.

Court should be like the NFL. A coach challenges a play and gets rewarded or penalized based on the video.

If I want to take you to court on a non-criminal matter and the decision goes to you then I should have to pay you for the time and trouble. That would stop a lot of frivilous law suits from the get go.

I'll play devil's advocate. If there was an understanding (regardless of whether it was written or oral) that there would be photographs taken of the last dance or bouquet toss, the customer has a legitimate complaint. But ultimately disputes like this are easy to resolve - a swift apology and some free prints. This legal action is clearly twilight zone material.

Wedding photographers need to be careful about setting out the parameters of their involvement. They need to be explicit about their plans and timetable for the day. If there is no confusion, there are no problems (just the occassional minor hiccup).

If you're holding yourself out to be a pro and taking money, you've got to produce reasonable results or run the risk of legal action. Personally, I'm surprised that there aren't more legal cases concerning wedding photography. It is such an important day for the bride and groom and you sometimes see some very ordinary photos. There must be a lot of upset brides out there.

Also, the standard wedding photography agreement would say that in the event of faulty equipment or processing and all photos being destroyed, the bride and groom would get their money refunded. I don't know if that is good enough and I think additional damages are warranted. Most serious photographers (eg the ones visiting this site!) take precautions - 2 bodies, 2 photographers, weather sealed cameras etc. But there are a number of cowboys out there.

Where is Denny Crane when you need him?

Lots of uninformed and erroneous maligning of the legal system. The judge cannot dismiss claims that appear on their face to include all required legal elements. Although this case appears to be without merit, this is not the time to eliminate it.

Imagine you had a claim, filed a lawsuit, and the judge threw it out without hearing one piece of evidence, without you ever getting in front of a jury. That would be a miscarriage of justice.

There are other procedures that can be applied to eliminate claims that turn out to be frivolous, but were properly alleged in a complaint, just not this one. As others have said, most of the case was eliminated because of problems with the content or timing of the complaint. If, as seems likely, the defendant wins and can prove that the claims against them were frivolous and without probable cause, most states provide claims that the defendant would be able to make against the plaintiff to recover damages suffered due to the frivolous complaint.

Unfortunately, the defendant has to spend the money to defend against this sort of case. That is one of the prices we pay for having the freedom to assert our legal rights. If someone could decide to throw out this claim without ever receiving even a shred of evidence, then they could throw out anyone's valid claim too. Of course, that would not be a problem in some people's mind unless the valid claim tossed out ended up to be theirs.

Has anyone looked at the wedding images on the H&H website? Boring compositions, bad editing, out of focus and almost all of them have skewed horizons.

If I had to pay $4100 for this level photography and lived in the U.S, I would sue...

I can say only one thing: tort reform. Now more than ever...

The complain contains legitmate allegations of breach of contract.

Yes, the plaintiff may have asked for more damages than he's likely to obtain, but that's the nature of complaints; you put every cause of action and every justification for damages you can think of in there, and hope that some of it sticks.

I suspect that the wedding photographer really did leave the wedding earlier than the plaintiff expected him to, and I also suspect that the wedding photographer really did blow off the customers complaints about.

I guess if you keep pissing off your customers, eventually one of them will sue you.

Also, I went to the website and saw 60 mediocre photos, with bad PP and too much flash. If that's the guy's best of the best photos from all the weddings he has ever done, then I suspect there was genuine disappointement with the wedding album.

I'd love to read his complaint - does anyone know if it is published or what the Complaint # is?

The bit I don't understand is how the defendant's costs have managed to get to $50,000.

If this was me I would represent myself for zero cost based on the ridiculousness of the case with a back up plan of declaring myself bankrupt if found in the plaintif's favour.

If you have already run up costs of $50,000, you might just as well pay up the $48,000 originally asked for!

Unfortunately, the defendant has to spend the money to defend against this sort of case. That is one of the prices we pay for having the freedom to assert our legal rights.

Paying for legal representation is an option, not a necessity. You can choose to rtepresent yourself.

"A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."

Arguably, that might apply even more strongly to a non-lawyer.

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