Groom Sues Wedding Photographer Even Though Wedding Ended In Divorce

This may be one of the stranger lawsuits I’ve seen in awhile:

Of all the many things that make up a wedding, few are more important than the photographs.

Long after the last of the cake has grown stale and the tossed bouquet has wilted, the photos endure, stirring memories and providing vivid proof that the day of one’s dreams took place.

So it is not particularly surprising that one groom, disappointed with his wedding photos, decided to sue. The photographers had missed the last dance and the bouquet toss, the groom, Todd J. Remis of Manhattan, said.

But what is striking, said the studio that took the pictures, is that Mr. Remis’s wedding took place in 2003 and he waited six years to sue. And not only has Mr. Remis demanded to be repaid the $4,100 cost of the photography, he also wants $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding and fly the principals to New York so the celebration can be re-shot by another photographer.

Re-enacting the wedding may pose a particular challenge, the studio pointed out, because the couple divorced and the bride is believed to have moved back to her native Latvia.

Although Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of State Supreme Court in Manhattan dismissed most of the grounds for the lawsuit, like the “infliction of emotional distress,” she has allowed the case to proceed to determine whether there was indeed a breach of contract. But she displayed a good deal of amusement about the lawsuit’s purpose in an opinion in January that quoted lyrics from the Barbra Streisand classic “The Way We Were.”

“This is a case in which it appears that the ‘misty watercolor memories’ and the ‘scattered pictures of the smiles … left behind’ at the wedding were more important than the real thing,” the judge wrote. “Although the marriage did not last, plaintiff’s fury over the quality of the photographs and video continued on.”

This may explain why Mr. Remis’s marriage didn’t last very long:

In November 2003, Mr. Remis, an equity research analyst, and his fiancée, Milena Grzibovska, stepped into the H & H studio, which was then in Riverdale, met with Mr. Fried and signed a contract to have photographs and videotape taken of their wedding the next month — on Dec. 28 — for $4,100.

It was a small party, with fewer than 40 guests, at Castle on the Hudson in Tarrytown. Photographs show a cheerful bride and groom surrounded by delighted relatives, including Ms. Grzibovska’s mother, Irina, and her sister Alina, who traveled from Latvia.

But a month after the wedding, when Mr. Remis returned to the studio to look over the proofs, he complained that the three-person crew had missed the last 15 minutes — the last dance and the bouquet toss. He noted in a deposition last July that the employees at H & H did not respond in a courtly fashion.

“I remember being yelled at more than I have ever been yelled at before,” Mr. Remis said.

In his lawsuit, he also complained that the photographs were “unacceptable as to color, lighting, poses, positioning” and that a video, which he had expected to record the wedding’s six hours, was only two hours long.

“I need to have the wedding recreated exactly as it was so that the remaining 15 percent of the wedding that was not shot can be shot,” he testified.

Mr. Fried, now 87, chuckles at this idea: “He wants to fly his ex-wife back and he doesn’t even know where she lives.”

There’s probably a good reason for that.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mr. Remis’s requested relief is ridiculous, but the basis for the lawsuit seems valid to me. I’d like to hear Mr. Fried’s explanation as to why his team appears to have missed portions of the wedding.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Depends what’s in the contract. If you have signed for a video photographer to take shots of the ceremony, you don’t really have the right to complain that he didn’t stick around until the last guest leaves the reception.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Also, any contract sloppiness will be construed against the writer of the contract. So if Mr. I-need-to-get-my-bride-back-from-Latvia was the ass who didn’t adequately set out the metes and bounds, this will get bounced pretty quickly.

    (I’m surprised this was even filed. What’s the statute of limitations for this sort of thing in NYS?)

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Hell, this is nothing. When I first cut my teeth in the litigation game I worked for a small firm that represented Home Depot in products and premises liability cases. One day this lady was loading up her car in a Home Depot parking lot. It was near one of those plantars with a tree. A bird flew out of the tree, the lady got startled, ducked her head quickly and busted her mouth on the handle of the shopping cart. She sued Home Depot. Seriously. To top it off her husband filed a loss of consortium claim on the basis that he lost out on numerous blow jobs for a week or two, until her mouth healed up. I shit you not. This was almost 20 years ago and even then Home Depot had to pay us 200 bucks per hour to deal with that nonsense.

    When people talk about the need for fundamental lawsuit and tort reform they’re not just whistling Dixie.

  5. doubter4444 says:

    Also, don’t forget that most wedding photographers work a set number of hours – it’s not their responsibility to stay to the bitter end unless being paid for it, otherwise the’d be obligated to stay till the event was cleaned up.

    That’s why most wedding photographers suggest you get everything done and out of the way sooner rather than later – and don’t forget in most cases there is lots of wine being served – and it’s better to get the good stuff before everyone gets blotchy and sweaty and drunk.

    As for the the particulars like getting the last dance – there is THE “last dance” and there is an end to the dancing – which was it?
    The photographer is not required to shoot every last second – but should reasonably be expected to shoot the important moments, and if there are lots of good shots already, missing the “toss” is not good, but hardly worthy of a law suit.
    My good friend is a killer photographer to very high end affairs – and even he misses stuff from time to time.
    But he’s very clear that he works a set number of hours and reminds the powers that be – (the father in law or whoever) when the time’s getting close. I find it hard to believe that this firm did not have a hard out time – so basically the guy just ignored it.

    And BTW, who the F really cares that much that he missed it? I don’t want to sound sexist but if it was the wife (assuming they were still married) and she was obsessively angry about it -I guess I could sort of get it- but from him? And the wedding is a bust? That’s messed up.

    With the entitlement the guy expresses, it’s no wonder he’s been out of work since 2008. Maybe he should move to Alabama and pick some tomatoes.

  6. Intellectual Conservative/@RobertSextonHB says:

    Geez, this sounds so unreasonable you’d think he was part of the #occupy crowd … 🙂

    “Its YOUR FAULT! I WANT EVERYTHING RECREATED THE WAY I WANT IT! IT DOESNT MATTER IF ITS IMPOSSIBLE!”

    Sorry but I’m amazed a lawyer even took this case. Seems a bit absurd to me.

    And no I’m not arguing a point of law with someone with a Juris Doctorate. I feel suitably dumb now 🙂