Saturday, November 05, 2011

Sour Grapes, or, No I don't Have The Receipt

Many of us have had to deal with professional photographers at some point in our lives. These equipment-laden professionals are as necessary as a heart-shaped ice sculpture at a wedding (or an angry relative at a Bar Mitzvah), despite the proliferation of digital cameras employed by every guest in attendance.  For the most part, they do an excellent job but every once in awhile, we hear a story about a photographer who took off without delivering the contractually-promised pictures and the outraged couple left holding the bag.

As soon as a crime like this is discovered, the victims spring into action. Police are called, investigators are hired, and, in extreme cases, the local news consumer advocate is sent on the case, often returning with video footage of said advocate having a door slammed in his face or being side-swiped by a fleeing scam artist.  The point is, all this happens within days of discovering the crime.

A recent story in the New York Times discussed marriage and lawsuits—two things Americans hold sacred.  It's the familiar story: a man disappointed in the results of his wedding album is demanding retribution.  And retribution he should get!  After all, the photographer missed the last dance and the bouquet toss (things which, I'm sure, seem like the most important moments in the world but after a few years are revealed to be stupid). The groom is not only demanding the $4,100 cost of the photography, but an additional $48,000 to restage the final moments of the wedding and have the pictures retaken. Odd, but not completely unreasonable.

The wrinkle in this nuptial nightmare (yeah, I know) is that the wedding took place in 2003. The lawsuit was filed in 2009.  Why did this guy wait 6 years to sue?  Reading the article reveals that the groom had been unemployed since 2008 and the statute of limitations was about to expire.  Aha!  Motive!  The guy needs money!! So I'm thinking that there's no way the participants look the same as they did 6 years ago.

Actual Latvian women. Thanks, Google Images! 
But that's the least of the problem.  You see, the couple split up in 2008.  And the bride's whereabouts are unknown.  It's believed that she moved back home to Latvia but no one's sure.

Okay, let's recap.

  • A wedding album is missing some important pictures.
  • The groom wants to restage the wedding in order to capture those pictures.
  • The wedding occurred 8 years ago
  • The couple split up 3 years ago
  • The bride is somewhere in Eastern Europe
For once, a little justice may have prevailed. A judge has dismissed most of the grounds of this suit, except for breach of contract.  So for the moment, a ridiculous suit has been revealed for what it is—a desperate grab for money.

I was happy to read that this whole thing may end up going away.  From the facts presented in the article, this whole thing is a waste of the court's time.  I can't imagine the guy actually expects to restage the wedding.  I mean, who's he gonna get to play his wife?

A few months ago, or maybe it was a couple of years ago,  I was called for jury duty for the first time.  After the requisite sitting around and silently mocking the people around me, I was called to a courtroom and voir dired. I was asked about lawsuits.  Soon after my answer about how I think there are too many frivolous lawsuits for inordinate amounts of money, I was dismissed by the prosecuting attorney--the same one who was trying to get a chunk of money for his client involved in a minor fender bender.  G-d bless America! 

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