Manhatten groom Todd J. Remis hired a photographer for his wedding in 2003 but was dismayed to find the final 15 minutes of the celebration missing which included the last dance and the bouquet toss.
Now Remis has demanded a refund of the $4,100 price of the photography plus $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding and fly the principals to New York so the celebration can be re-shot by another photographer. One of the principals who would need to be flown in for the re-enactment would be Remis’s wife – now his ex-wife – who moved back to her native country of Latvia.
Mr. Remis’s wedding took place in 2003 and he waited six years to sue.
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.”
Mr. Remis is suing H & H Photographers, a 65-year-old studio known fondly among thousands of former and current Bronx residents because it chronicled their weddings, bar mitzvahs and communions.
One of the two founders, Curt Fried, escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna in September 1939 as a 15-year-old and was drafted into the United States Army, where he learned to shoot pictures assisting cameramen along the legendary Burma Road supply line to China during World War II. Mr. Fried recalled that in the late 1940s, Arthur Fellig, the celebrated street photographer known as Weegee, twice sought work at the studio when he needed money, but was turned down because he did not own a suit.
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.