Focusing on the past.
November 4, 2011 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Mr. Remis’s wedding took place in 2003 and he waited six years to sue. And not only has he demanded to be repaid the $4,100 cost of the photography, he also wants $48,000 to recreate the entire wedding and fly the principals to New York so the celebration can be re-shot by another photographer. Among the many hurdles: He no longer knows where his now-ex-wife lives.
posted by dmd (61 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Remis deserves the mockery of all of cyberspace for all eternity.
posted by Renoroc at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


First World problems.
posted by Melismata at 2:55 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Boy, he's like a modern day, gender-reversed Miss Havisham, isn't he?
posted by Ideal Impulse at 2:58 PM on November 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


I can't read this story without feeling pity for the man. To be clear, he's a complete idiot. But there's also something very sad about the whole thing.

He clearly needs a friend to sit him out on a fire escape, give him a bottle of beer, and say "Dude, it's time to let it go."
posted by jscalzi at 2:59 PM on November 4, 2011 [26 favorites]


She is not coming back, pal.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:59 PM on November 4, 2011


I'm going to go ahead and say it: I think it's unlikely he'll get what he wants. And even if he gets it, who's to know that will truly make him happy?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:59 PM on November 4, 2011


next time around, worry less about the wedding and more about the marriage
posted by pyramid termite at 2:59 PM on November 4, 2011 [24 favorites]


I don't get it, though. The idea of reshooting the wedding so that there can be memories of the event ("we would like to have it documented for eternity") means that there will always be an asterisk next to the photos. Was this one shot at the first ceremony, or at the redo? Would they be reminiscing and celebrating the happiness of two people — or that of actors playing at being happy?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:02 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


He noted in a deposition last July that the employees at H & H did not respond in a courtly fashion.

Courtly? Is that like timely? Or is it more like politely? Is he suing because they weren't polite to him when he requested that they fly his guests and his ex-wife to New York and pay for a recreation of a failure?

a video, which he had expected to record the wedding’s six hours, was only two hours long.

Because what I'm sure what you do when you are divorced is wish your wedding video was six hours long instead of only two. If it is only two, that means when you get home from work and sit down in front of the TV with your beer and your nuts, you have to watch the whole thing at least 3 times before you can crawl off to bed-- but if it is six hours long...well then that just means you only have to sit through it once each night as you sit in the dark, clutching your pillow, and eating your heart out.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:03 PM on November 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


She's gone,
and I am found with loss;
but no good snaps
of the bouquet toss.
posted by Abiezer at 3:04 PM on November 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


How hard is it to photoshop a couple of final shots to complete the collection?

Heck, I'm sure the internets would do it for him if he provided a few base pix.
posted by mazola at 3:05 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


people go batshit crazy over photos. at the mall portrait studio, my life was threatened more than a couple of times over a disagreement about prints and the like.
posted by nadawi at 3:06 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Romantic comedy script.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:11 PM on November 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole!
posted by ericb at 3:11 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Recreate the wedding in Latvia where his ex-wife is. Give him a one-way ticket. Revoke passport. Sorry Latvia, your problem now.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:11 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even if he wins the lawsuit, I'm certain Doctor Doom won't allow it. He's not really a very romantic guy.
posted by koeselitz at 3:13 PM on November 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Of all the many things that make up a wedding, few are more important than the photographs.

Ugh.
posted by gurple at 3:20 PM on November 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


In my jurisdiction, the photographer could have taken his money and not even shown up and 6 years later, there would be no case. The statute of limitations, or whatever you call it in civil matters, kicks in around 2 years for most situations, even those involving serious physical injury. This is ridiculous.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


What Remis should really do here is to hire Jørgen Leth instead, and make him reshoot the wedding in five distinctly different ways, including one shoot in which Remis himself handles all the photography but requires that Leth sign his name to the work. And so you come away from it all feeling that Remis is both, yes, a bit of an obnoxious figure but at the same time there is a definite friendship there, a place of love and mutual respect for one another's creative processes from which the whole thing is coming, and so Remis becomes ultimately a sympathetic, if complex, figure.

Or he could drop the lawsuit, that's another strong option.
posted by cortex at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


I feel the guy's pain, as ridiculous as his claim is. Ten years later, I'm still trying to get the negatives out of our photographer. I've entirely given up on asking for the album we paid for. At least el_lupino and I are still together.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can understand suing (if he had done so in a timely manner), but I can't understand waiting to recreate the beginning of a failed marriage.

This seriously sounds like something out of a bad romantic comedy. He'll track down his ex-wife, get her to come for the "reshoot" of the wedding, they'll fall in love all over again and BAM, cue the Maroon 5.
posted by asnider at 3:25 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


These media stunts get more cynical by the day. Can't they get enough business by working hard? The story isn't even believable.
posted by Jehan at 3:25 PM on November 4, 2011


Any sane Judge would sentence Remis to be Fried's butler.
posted by mazola at 3:31 PM on November 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Or drop him from a helicopter
posted by infini at 3:32 PM on November 4, 2011


Oh, this reminds me of a Kids in the Hall sketch about a man who wants his bill 15 minutes ago.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:35 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


The statute of limitations, or whatever you call it in civil matters, kicks in around 2 years for most situations, even those involving serious physical injury.

Actually... it's mostly for those involving physical injury. Tort claims like that do tend to have shorter statutes of limitations, but the SOL for payment on accounts or written contracts is frequently from six to as many as fifteen years. This is probably what the IIED/NIED claims were dismissed--as a tort alleging bodily injury, the statute has run--but the contract claims were preserved. See?

Here's the thing though: the guy is looking for what's called "specific performance," i.e. he wants exactly what the photographer was supposed to have provided. This is almost never permitted in contract cases, for a variety of reasons which the legal system is not about to revisit. This has been settled law for the better part of 200 years. The remedy for a breach of contract is pretty much always limited to money damages, which in this case is almost certainly going to be the contract price, $4,100, at most. The defendants might be well advised to move for summary judgment on the specific performance issue.
posted by valkyryn at 3:36 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


The saddest thing is that if he does win, he will lose.

Let's say, by some crazy legal backflipping, Remis wins, and gets everything he wants. He gets to re-create the wedding, they find all his guests, find the guests clothes from that day, they find the bride and her bridal gown, get her hair re-done just like it was that day. Everything is scripted to be a perfect re-creation of those few hours when Remis and Grzibovska might be together forever more.

The problem is that Grzibovska left Remis, and left the country. She didn't want him, and didn't even want stay in the US (or she couldn't, but that's another topic for another time). Her memory of the marriage is that it ended, his is that it happened. Would Grzibovska really be a happy player in his re-creation?

Even if everything is in the right place, the emotions will be wrong, and the photos will show that. Instead of memories of a happy day, seven years ago, he'll be left holding even more reminders that his marriage failed, even if it was on good terms.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:38 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


He noted in a deposition last July that the employees at H & H did not respond in a courtly fashion.
Courtly? Is that like timely? Or is it more like politely?
Politely. Refined. Genteel. "Courtly" is how a courtier would behave in the sovereign's court.
Is he suing because they weren't polite to him when he requested that they fly his guests and his ex-wife to New York and pay for a recreation of a failure?
No. Note the sentences preceding and following the one you quoted:
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.

“I remember being yelled at more than I have ever been yelled at before,” Mr. Remis said.
He is claiming they weren't courtly when he first brought his concerns up, a month after the wedding. Moreover, even that is not why he's suing; he's suing (ostensibly, at least) because (he claims) they missed a significant part of his wedding, and because the photos that they produced were (he claims) sub-par.

I hasten to note that nothing in this comment should be taken to mean that I think this lawsuit seems reasonable to me
posted by Flunkie at 3:39 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remis has been unemployed since 2008 (but can still pay his lawyer) and sued in 2009. Coincidence?
posted by pibeandres at 3:43 PM on November 4, 2011


This could be made into a romantic comedy, but it would have to be in the style of Be Kind Rewind - i.e. everyone in the movie is a bit of a pitiable idiot.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:49 PM on November 4, 2011


I'm not sure you can send a stronger message to someone than leaving town, to Latvia even, after you split. she'd probably give you rabbit ears or the finger in every photo.
posted by ninjew at 3:53 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


For some reason, I'm imagining a group of rich guys sitting in big leather chairs in an old club somewhere in Manhattan smoking cigars and making a bet for a princely sum where the winner is the one who, within 10 years' time, can legitimately get the New York Times to publish an article about what an asshole he is.
posted by The World Famous at 4:01 PM on November 4, 2011 [26 favorites]


I think I know why she divorced him.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:05 PM on November 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


I've got this great photo of my then underage sister-in-law falling down drunk, with her skirt hiked up above her hips, in front of my 85 year old grandma. I think I'd like to see that again myself.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:31 PM on November 4, 2011


I've got a strict no pictures policy. For weddings I relax that a bit and simply demand final approval. I once had a noted fashion photographer retake my photo with the bride 7 times, I even got his girlfriend, a fashion editor to back me up. If you want a picture with me you gotta jump through a few hoops. This shit is going to end up online, I got my brand to protect.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:45 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sort of surprised that the complaint wasn't written out by hand.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:06 PM on November 4, 2011


Politely. Refined. Genteel. "Courtly" is how a courtier would behave in the sovereign's court.

Yes I've got a handle on what it means in old Victorian novels, but I was just curious if it had a legal meaning that I wasn't aware of. And who the hell uses "Courtly" in their everyday speech? It makes him a bigger dickwad (if that is possible.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:14 PM on November 4, 2011




Curt and Dan Fried are paying their lawyer, Peter Wessel, themselves, they said, and the costs — $50,000 — the time the suit has taken and the distress have taken a toll.
Huh? They've spent $50k defending against a claim for $48k and change? Or are they valuing their own time in there, on top of $5k or so for their lawyer?
posted by disillusioned at 5:32 PM on November 4, 2011


Huh? They've spent $50k defending against a claim for $48k and change? Or are they valuing their own time in there, on top of $5k or so for their lawyer?

I guess at this point they're hoping he loses and has to pay their legal fees?
posted by kpht at 5:36 PM on November 4, 2011


Be Kind Rewind - i.e. everyone in the movie is a bit of a pitiable idiot.
now hold up a sec
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:54 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh? They've spent $50k defending against a claim for $48k and change? Or are they valuing their own time in there, on top of $5k or so for their lawyer?

Money isn't all the guy wants. And even if the defendants want to settle--and I guarantee they do--the plaintiff has to want to settle too. Doesn't look like he does.

Thing is, if the defendants make a bona fide settlement offer and the plaintiff gets less than that at trial... many courts will award attorneys fees, at least those incurred after the date of the settlement offer.
posted by valkyryn at 6:08 PM on November 4, 2011


You don't agree that every character in that movie was just slightly on the stupid and non-threatening side?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:09 PM on November 4, 2011


Sad all around. I feel for the photography company most I guess.
posted by sweetkid at 6:44 PM on November 4, 2011


Mr. Remis’s lawyer works for Goodwin Procter, where Mr. Remis’s father, Shepard M. Remis, is a litigation partner. The younger Mr. Remis has testified that he is paying his lawyer himself.

Why is everyone wondering wondering how Remis can pay for legal counsel? It's his dad's lawyer. This guy is an idiot and hardly worth all the hand wringing over his emotional state.
posted by zoomorphic at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2011


First World problems.

Ha! That's BRILLIANT! Can I steal that? It's just dripping with snark, but it's also contemporary! Just WOW. I'm going to tell EVERYBODY.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:15 PM on November 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't understand how the photography company has paid out $50k already. In a situation like this, don't you just shred the documents as they arrive in the mail and wait to laugh in the plaintiff's face in court?
posted by Aquaman at 7:31 PM on November 4, 2011


I don't understand how the photography company has paid out $50k already. In a situation like this, don't you just shred the documents as they arrive in the mail and wait to laugh in the plaintiff's face in court?

Going pro se and shredding court documents is really not a great way to succeed in litigation.
posted by The World Famous at 7:38 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


...wondering how Remis can pay for legal counsel? It's his dad's lawyer. This guy is an idiot...

I guess idiocy runs in the family; or old dad's just sick and tired of his son whining about the whole thing for the last few years and washed his hands by throwing his idiot son a bone.
posted by porpoise at 7:59 PM on November 4, 2011


Yeah, I don't get how this is possible 6 years later. Don't most states have a 2 year statute of limitations for such cases? I thought only murder had no statute of limitations?
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:19 PM on November 4, 2011


he sued in 2009, the wedding was in december of 2003 and he picked up the proofs in 2004 - so it's more like 5 years. the article says "just before the statute of limitation was about to expire."
posted by nadawi at 8:27 PM on November 4, 2011


Going pro se and shredding court documents is really not a great way to succeed in litigation.

So is there no level of frivolity to which a lawsuit may descend that precludes the defendant from having to spend tens of thousands of dollars?
posted by Aquaman at 8:34 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


So is there no level of frivolity to which a lawsuit may descend that precludes the defendant from having to spend tens of thousands of dollars?

Sure. If the case is sufficiently frivolous, there are ways to win an award of attorneys fees and costs once you demonstrate the frivolity of the case. There are procedures you have to follow. You've got to demonstrate to the court that it is frivolous. You can't do that just by tearing up the papers and walking into the courtroom whenever feel like it, without having filed a motion or papers of any kind, and being all "hey, man, this is frivolous!" Unfortunately, the real legal system doesn't work like a Sammy Hagar video.
posted by The World Famous at 8:56 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't read this story without feeling pity for the man. To be clear, he's a complete idiot. But there's also something very sad about the whole thing.

According to psychics, the most common question asked by men is, "When is she coming back?"
posted by dhartung at 11:41 PM on November 4, 2011


Think of litigation like playing chess, only with a really argumentative opponent who haggles over the legality and appropriateness of every move, and each move costs thousands of dollars.

You want to just blow him off because, in a fair fight he's got nothing, but if you stop paying attention, you might blunder and lose the whole match to him, so you end up spending far more in concentration and money than he's ever worth, just to avoid a stupid loss.

That's how you spend $50k defending against a $48k judgement. If Remis is seriously proposing re-staging a wedding for which he can't locate the ex-bride, that indicates that he's crazy and spiteful and wants a big, knockdown fight to feel purposeful and vindicated.
posted by fatbird at 11:48 PM on November 4, 2011


And that's why, when I shoot a wedding, the bride and groom will have signed a document that includes this in one of the agreement clauses:

"... Client(s) agree that an entire wedding cannot be replicated, re-enacted or repeated for the purpose of a re-shoot and limits Photographer's liability to the amount paid under this contract..."
posted by insulglass at 12:27 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


@obiwanasabi

first world problems

- communism
- ??
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:44 AM on November 5, 2011


The Five Obstructions reference, eh? Nicely plated beans, sir.
posted by mek at 1:59 AM on November 5, 2011



According to psychics, the most common question asked by men is, "When is she coming back?"

Thanks for reminding me :( I felt that ping of sadness when I think about my ex. Almost 12 years and he never really moved on. He is a broken, decrepit alcoholic-- far too old for his calendar age-- and that doesn't make me feel good. Sure he was a shitty husband and did not deserve to be married to me, but Jesus, he is the father of my only child and I honestly did not want his life to be so curdled with sadness.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:22 AM on November 5, 2011


Does he expect that all of the 40 wedding guests want to cooperate in this recreation he's demanding? How about the wedding officiant? Is everybody required to dress in the same outfits they wore then? (And what if someone has drastically gained/lost weight, are they then required by this nutcase to diet or regain that lost weight, just so they match his fantasies?) With 40+ people, in the ensuing eight years there's a good chance at least one has died --- what's his requirement in that situation?!?

And that's not even counting the former bride (who apparently wants so little to do with him that he's not even positive what country she's currently in!) and her wishes!
posted by easily confused at 7:54 AM on November 5, 2011


It's a nice twist on the failed marriage cliché to have the husband as the gold-digger.
posted by Hylas at 11:16 AM on November 7, 2011


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