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The 6 Most Ridiculous Times Photography Insurance Came in Handy

Photographers see a lot of interesting stuff through their viewfinders, but they seldom see a lawsuit coming. Even when a lawsuit is staring them in the face, it can be so unexpected that they can't quite believe what they're seeing. Here are six times photographers found themselves knee-dip in absurd legal trouble and were glad to have photography insurance to help pull them out.

1. The Missed Kiss

1. When the Kiss Wasn't Captured

When Australian couple Jarrad and Sheree Mitchell got married, they expected the perfect day. And by all accounts, it was. The only problem? According to TIME.com New browser window icon., their wedding photographer, George Ferris of Studio Edge & Multimedia, failed to capture their first kiss on camera. When they reviewed the pictures of that happy day, they were devastated. Not only had he missed the kiss, but he also hadn't got their ribbon cutting or certificate signing on film.

The newlyweds didn't pay Ferris in full for the photos, and then sued him for $6,700.

Ferris countersued the couple for $6,000 to cover court fees, the remaining amount that they owed him, and $63 he paid out-of-pocket for a meal on the wedding day. When all was said and done, Ferris was ordered to pay $750 for failing to meet the value of the photography package, a cost Errors & Omissions Insurance can cover. (E&O coverage can help pay for legal expenses when a photographer is sued over professional negligence, mistakes, or breaches of contract.)

The couple, on the other hand, was ordered to pay for the $63 meal expense. Sweet, sweet justice.

2. The Divorced Guy's Wedding

2. When the Divorced Guy Wanted to Recreate His Wedding

Wedding photographers aren't superhuman — they make mistakes like the rest of us. So why not recreate the entire wedding to get the shots just right and bill the photographer after? And why not do it all six years after the original wedding — and after the bride and groom have divorced?

This was actually somebody's idea, according to The New York Times New browser window icon.. Todd Remis of Manhattan sued H & H Photographers, claiming that the company missed the last 15 minutes of the wedding reception, including the last dance and bouquet toss. He demanded the $4,100 back that he paid the studio and $48,000 to fly the principals to New York to recreate the wedding. Sidebar: his wife moved back to Latvia, and he doesn't know where she lives now.

Whether the photography studio fulfilled the contract or not, we have to admit that the guy had a pretty solid plan to see the love of his life again, even if the lawsuit was a little desperate.

3. The Broken Statue

3. When the Photographers Broke a Priceless Piece of Art

Maybe priceless isn't the best word to use when the lawsuit specifically demanded for $300,000, but that's still a lot of money. An article on Petapixel.com New browser window icon. describes how photographers for Art + Auction magazine accidentally dropped a 2,630-year-old Nigerian Nok statue, which shattered into a thousand pieces. The statue belonged to art collector Corice Amran, who sued the magazine for negligence in their handling of the artifact.

Apparently, the statue was damaged beyond repair, having been made out of fragile terracotta. Such figurines are some of the only remaining artifacts of the Nok culture of central Nigeria and are rarely found intact. One can only hope somebody told a good Nok Nok joke to lighten the mood after the shattered pieces stopped bouncing around. One can also hope that the photographers had General Liability Insurance, which can cover lawsuits over damaged third-party property.

4. The Angry Lawyer

4. When the Client Was an Angry Lawyer

Wedding photographers have it tough. There's a lot of pressure on them to get everything right. Luckily, the photographer in this case did! Almost. Unfortunately, he didn't have a contract with the couple and gave them all the unedited photos instead of just the finished ones.

On Petapixel.com New browser window icon., photographer and entrepreneur Gary Fong talks about a photographer that contacted him after being threatened with a $300,000 lawsuit. According to Fong, the photographer did a wonderful job and took beautiful wedding photos. The couple seemed pleased, at least initially.

Then the photographer received a letter from the groom, who happens to be an attorney, demanding $15,000 be paid to them for ruining their wedding and threatening a $300,000 lawsuit if they weren't compensated. Fong calls the attorney behind the letter a bully and expresses a few expletives in the process.

His main advice for wedding photographers: always have a contract, and never give all the photos (including unflattering or poor ones) to your client.

5. Walmart

5. When Walmart Wanted Family Portraits

When you think of family photos, the first thing you think of is probably a happy, loving, multi-billion-dollar corporation, right? A 2014 case involves Walmart going after a small photography studio in Arkansas over old photos of the Walton family.

According to PPA.com New browser window icon., Walmart filed a lawsuit against the owner of Bob' Studio of Photography. The current owner, Helen Huff, is the widow of photographer David Huff, whose father Robert founded the studio in 1946. Apparently, the studio created portraits of the Walton family before they became mega-wealthy and is in possession of boxes of photos, proofs, and negatives. Walmart says the content of those boxes belongs to them and the studio is infringing on copyright. The only problem is that the studio took the photos and never sold them to the Walton family, so the copyright of the photos belongs to the studio and no one else, under federal law. The case is still underway.

Luckily, General Liability Insurance covers copyright lawsuits, too.

6. The $28 Million

6. When the Photographer Was Sued for $28 Million

$28 million. What photographer has that kind of money?

The case is kind of a murky one, but the gist of it goes like this: Jason Parry took racy photos of model Hailey Clauson, who was 15-years old at the time, and the photos later made their way into magazines and onto T-shirts sold by Urban Outfitters. Clauson's parents sued the photographer and stores for $28 million, claiming that Parry agreed not to release the photos.

Parry says the lawsuit is a publicity stunt and the parents agreed to release the photos. He says the photos appeared on shirts without his permission. You can read more about the story at apphotoeditor.com New browser window icon. or ABC News New browser window icon..

Regardless of who's right or wrong in the case, that's a hefty chunk of change on the line. Having insurance to help fight the legal battle is essential, and it costs a lot less than $28 million.

As the other cases show, people can be pretty irrational even when you do everything to the best of your ability. Though judges might throw out a lot of these cases, attorney fees still add up. Luckily, photography insurance can address legal fees associated with property damage, copyright infringement, and professional negligence claims.

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