Law Suits

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Johnboy2978, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know that one of the hot topics in this forum is the need for insurance, tight contracts, etc to mitigate your own personal damages in the event that you are sued. I can also imagine cases in which one may be sued, primarily for failure to deliver agreed upon services or images. For instance the photog who didn't make a contingency plan, has a wedding scheduled and the day of the event learns that his mother died earlier in the day and doesn't make the wedding, or the deadbeat photog who takes the images and clients money and leaves town and never delivers the prints.

    My question is how many of you have been sued due to poor quality? Who won the case? While we're on the subject how many of you have been sued for anything photography business related even similar to the scenarios mentioned above? I know that everyone needs insurance b/c we do live in a very litigious society, but I can't imagine it happens that often. Of course, I don't do this for a living, so maybe it happens with greater frequency than I imagine. Thus, the reason for my post. Everyone talks about the need and the threat, let's hear your real life stories of being sued, what happened and who won the case.
     
  2. sinjans

    sinjans TPF Noob!

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    Watching this one
     
  3. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking not a lot of people will admit to this. :er:
     
  4. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    i am also watching this one.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Bennilou/elsapet/Cindy mentioned something about almost loosing her business/house etc.
    You might want to ask her.

    I think that the big associations like PMA will actually defend photographers in legal proceedings, you might be able to dig up some stats or info with them.
     
  6. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    A law suit is what an attorney wears, a lawsuit is what they do...lol
     
  7. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    you are one funny person!:lol:
     
  8. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    You oughta hear me tell my elephant jokes. I once did a standup routine with oldy moldy elephant jokes, had them rolling in the aisles...lol
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've never heard first-hand of anyone being sued for poor quality work. I have seen once or twice such cases on "People's Court" involving videographers. It never ended in a wind-fall for the couple... simply a partial refund of monies paid.

    My REAL LIFE experience is nothing so interesting. In my early years, maybe my first year in business (1983), I took on a job to photograph a would-be model. She wanted a good variety of looks... most in the studio and a couple of locations, ranging from a business look to street work and everything in between. I advised her to secure an agent before investing in a lot of photography, but she decided to go ahead with the project.

    I remember delivering 8x10 prints, one of each situation... maybe a total of 8. She was pleased with the results, calling me a few months after to say she got a job in Florida based on the strength of the photos. She did, however, want additional prints at that time and balked on the price. That's when she told me that she got some advice from a friend and decided she had spent enough money with me and wanted the negatives.

    She called back with a new strategy. I guarantee satisfaction. I still do. Her new claim was that she was dissatisfied with my work and wanted a full refund. Being young and inexperienced, and wanting to be a man of my word, I told her if she returned everything and a signed statement assuring me she had not copied, used or benefited from my photographs in any way, I would refund her money... something like $650. That was a BUNCH of money for me at the time.

    Several weeks passed, and I got a letter from her attorney stating he had the statement and all the photos and was ready to make the exchange. He also assured me that he was ready to go to court with the case. I had a change of heart. I knew her claim of dissatisfaction was false and went to see my attorney. He then mailed a letter to her guy saying that, yes... the better way to handle the matter would be in court.

    And that's the end of the story. I never heard another word from my aspiring model.

    -Pete
     
  10. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Interesting. This is kind of my assumption that unless you absolutely don't physically deliver by either missing an event or don't deliver an end product, it is pretty hard to litigate any perceived, let alone actual, damages. I'm going to continue watching this as well. It's just interesting that so many people threaten the neophytes with all the lawsuits you will get nailed with if you do X, Y, and Z, but really the actual threat is quite negligible.
     
  11. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    It's been 42 years since I shot my first paid shoot. I've never been sued or had an insurance claim filed against me. I've been threatened a few times in instances something like Christie Photo's. It is usually called buyers remorse. You've experienced it yourself after some of the "new" wears off of a purchase you start to think maybe I should get my money back. I'm not saying to disregard clear and simple to understand written agreements, but if you take care of your customers you have very little to worry about. Sometime the most difficult thing to do is to figure out what the "real" complaint or problem is. This is where customer service skills come in. How much business can you lose because you don't address a problem. Regardless of the written agreement I want my customers to be happy with their purchase, not for fear of being sued but because I want referrals. Insurance is like credit it's no good if you have to use it.

    The only trouble I know of that has been verified is a photographer taking deposits for prints and not delivering. The usual cause of that is charging a real low price then running out of money before the job is done and not having the capital to eat the loss. I've heard all kinds of stories about wedding photographers being sued, but I don't even know the name of a single bride or photographer who has been involved in any litigation. I think a lot of the stories are made up by insurance salesmen.

    The other thing is I don't think you could be successfully sued for "poor quality". That would be too subjective. On the other hand if somewhere in the process you "lost" all the pictures and had nothing to deliver, you may. In all my agreements the client must agree that for whatever reason my liability is limited to money paid.
     
  12. raptorman

    raptorman TPF Noob!

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    I know many cases where "professionals" have been succesfully sued for poor quality, why would it be any different for photographers?
     

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