Todd Remis Addresses New York Times Version
of Contract Dispute
There are two sides to every story, including the
sensationalized half story given to the media recently by a disgruntled
litigant, H&H Photographers. But
facts are stubborn things, and here are a few more which did not get reported.
In 2003, Todd Remis and his fiancé hired H&H to take
pictures and video at their upcoming wedding at Castle on The Hudson. There was a signed contract, and Todd paid
H&H $3,500 in advance, as required. The
wedding took place on December 28, 2003. It
was a wonderful event for the bride and groom, except for their interactions
with H&H. For instance, when the
couple asked the H&H photographer not to set up the formal photos in front
of a large mirror because they feared the flash would reflect off it, he
refused to move. During the last 45
minutes of the wedding reception, neither the photographer nor the videographer
could be found because they left early without telling anyone.
When the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon, they
visited H&H eagerly anticipating a beautiful recreation of their
wedding. They were sadly disappointed
with what they saw, and to make matters worse, they felt they were treated
rudely by H&H when they raised their concerns. Photos taken in front of the mirror, as it
turned out, did reflect camera flashes and glare spots, along with images of
assorted equipment and people in the background - just as H&H had been
warned. The video was a disappointment,
and owing to the absentee videographer, did not include the last dance and
bouquet toss among other moments of the wedding. Still, Todd
and his bride were not looking for a fight.
They were newly married and in love.
So when an owner of H&H promised to make things right and deliver
the corrected photos and the agreed upon video, they shook the H&H
representative's hand, and went home.
After that, they waited, and waited some more. And then still some more. Phone calls to H&H were not
returned. Nothing arrived from H&H. In the meantime, years went by and life
intervened. There was a divorce, and
although amicable, it was not easy. The
couple and their families remained in touch.
For Todd the silence from
H&H bothered him. It wasn’t so much
that they still had his $3,500 all these years, as it was their failure to
deliver after a promise and a handshake.
Todd asked himself, how could a
business treat a customer this way? So, Todd decided to do something about it. But that something was not a lawsuit. It was simply a letter. In August, 2009, Todd wrote to H&H,
reminded it of its long ago promise and asked that H&H follow through. H&H’s response? To send Todd
a bill for the remainder of the contract price, plus interest, for wedding
photo albums and video he never received, coupled with a threat to refer the
matter to a collection agency. So there
is no doubt about these facts, read Todd's
letter to H&H and H&H's response. Facts are stubborn things indeed.
With no other means of redress, Todd
responded with the now famous lawsuit.
Zealous representation by lawyers on both sides further polarized the
situation. H&H's attempt to have the case dismissed failed when its motion
was denied by a judge in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Apparently unhappy with its lack of success in court, H&H undertook
a different tack - a media campaign to try and embarrass Todd,
an attempt to try the case in the court of public opinion, where there are no
rules of evidence, just sensationalized headlines.
H&H provided the press with information including
documents not in the public record as well as posing for pictures for the New York Times, for an article written
by Joseph Berger. Also, H&H omitted important
information about its own conduct from its campaign. It did not explain why it
kept $3,500 of a customer's money while failing to deliver on its promise all
these years. It did not explain why it
had threatened Todd with a collection
action if he did not pay more money. The
result? Todd was unfairly
mischaracterized and portrayed in the media as a "Groomzilla" and
But courts exist for a reason. One reason is so that consumers who feel
mistreated by a business can petition them to seek a remedy, which is exactly
what Todd is doing. And unless and until
a reasonable settlement can be accomplished, he will have no choice but to
pursue his case against H&H in a court of law where it will finally be
resolved by a jury of his peers, who are neutral and not interested in, or part
of, a media campaign.