The $400,000 Wedding Florist Lawsuit: Dirty Vases and Brown, Wilted Flowers

We briefly mentioned a lawsuit in which a bride (who happens to be a lawyer) was suing her florist for $400,000 after she was disappointed with the wedding flowers she paid $30,000 for.

Now, the Wall Street Journal has tracked down the filing so we can bask in the litigiousness of it all.

According to the filing, the florist is accused of “materially failing to perform in accordance with” their agreement by ” substituting different and less expensive flowers than the ones required under the contract, and failing to provide specific items Plaintiffs paid for.” They’re also accusing the florist of “using wilted and/or browned flowers, leaving the event without filling half the centerpieces with water” and “using dusty or dirty vases.”

One interesting part of the complaint (from a consumer standpoint) is the bride’s assertion that she was falsely lead to believe that the florist didn’t accept credit card payments, and such deception is a common tactic of shady wedding vendors. From the complaint:

“It is a common scheme for wedding vendors to claim that they do not accept credit card payments and instead require money to be paid upfront and in a non-refundable form. Wedding services are unique in the sense that payment is usually required upfront prior to receiving services, not after. Often, dishonest vendors insist upon payment by cash or check so that in the event of a dispute, it will be harder for the bride to get back her money. “


Elana Glatt, Tobi Glatt, and David Glatt V. Posy Floral Design Studios, INC and Paula Arakas (PDF)
[WSJ via WSJ Law Blog]

Comments

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  1. HeyThereKiller says:

    Luckily there should be tons of documentation… unless of course the photographer and videographer didn’t show

  2. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Call me an ass, but I just can’t seem to feel sympathy for a lawyer over anything.

  3. Girtych says:

    Wait. This is the same lady that was filing a lawsuit against the vendor for using flowers that were a shade of pink instead of a dark red. At first glance, at least, it sounds to me like she’s changing the suit to something that’s easier to swing by the courts. And while I’ll agree that unscrupulous wedding vendors will often pull the “cash up-front scam” (plenty of stories about that on Etiquette Hell), I’d love to hear the vendor’s point of view on all this.

  4. mantari says:

    Having spent $30k on flowers, I find it particuarly easy to snark on this. However, having myself paid full price for some flowers and ending up getting crap, I say sick ‘em.

  5. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Jaysyn:

    OK, you’re an ass. She’s a lawyer. That doesn’t change the fact that she was defrauded. The florist specifically promised A, was paid in advance for A, and then provided B, which was a poor, and much cheaper substitute, for A.

    BTW, the payment upfront is very typical. Otherwise, to look at it from the vendor’s point of view, you run into bridezillas who say “I saw one modestly wilted flower in the arrangement on table 23, I’m charging back the whole $30k!”

  6. Yourhero88 says:

    This woman needs a swift kick in the face, and by kick, I mean bullet, and by face, I mean face.

  7. magic8ball says:

    @Girtych: Either that, or she’s had the same complaints the whole time, and the press just reported the ones that sounded the most ridiculous because it made better headlines.

  8. magic8ball says:

    @Yourhero88: Yes, violence will surely solve this problem, the way it solves so many others.

  9. Sachlichkeit says:

    400k in ‘damages’ for 30k in flowers is completly absurd. I hope she loses simply because she is greedy.

  10. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    @Jaysyn:

    I agree completely. Hopefully she won’t take her pants to the dry cleaners anytime soon…

  11. popeye_doyle says:

    Is there a law that merchants have to take credit cards?

    Show me the law. SHOW ME THE LAW!

  12. tedyc03 says:

    There is no law that merchants have to take credit cards. But there IS a law that prohibits undue enrichment and a law that requires someone to abide by the terms of a contract. $30,000 in flowers is a lot of money…you’d think she would have used something other than a check to pay.

  13. bohemian says:

    The vendor is right that there are way too many insane people getting married. Or getting married turns sane people into monsters.

    But if you spent some huge amount of money on flowers you expect to get what you paid for. I am assuming that they had some sort of big status event for their wedding if they paid 30g for flowers. At that level of trying to impress people having half dead dirty looking arrangements would not be acceptable.

    But $30g for flowers WTF. There are people starving in Africa.

  14. SVreader says:

    Have any photos of said flowers been published yet? No flowers, no matter how ugly, should cause you “extreme disappointment, distress and embarrassment” or leave you needing to “get our reputation back”. If they were wilted and the vases were dirty, I can see her getting some money back, but crappy flowers should not equal emotional distress.

  15. niccernicus says:

    Wow. Nothing like turning $270k profit on something that no one would have known about anyways!

  16. Skeptic says:

    BY YOURHERO88 AT 01:22 PM

    This woman needs a swift kick in the face, and by kick, I mean bullet, and by face, I mean face.

    Suggesting that a woman should be shot in the face because she expects a vendor to live up to their contract is the kind of violent BS that should get you banned. There is enough violence in the world without you suggesting more of it for non-violent contract disputes.

  17. DrGirlfriend says:

    That filing reads as though this woman wrote it herself. I understand that she did not get what she paid for, but that is one petulant-sounding filing.

    Be smarter next time and do research on vendors, before dropping someone’s yearly salary on flowers.

  18. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Yourhero88: dude, talk about taking it too far.

  19. erratapage says:

    1) A merchant can take payment in any form it wants, but one of the hallmarks of an unscrupulous wedding vendor is the claim that they don’t take credit card payments.

    2) A huge wedding might not be something you want to pay for, but if she wants one, she shouldn’t be thrown out of court for having one. Maybe she donated half her salary to the starving children in Africa… we just don’t know!

    3) I’m pretty sure that bad flowers didn’t cause $400,000 in damages.

    What is it about weddings, anyway? People have a beautiful time. They eat cake and dance. Everyone is smiling. Why does one wrong thing totally ruin it for the bride?

    Me? I got married at the courthouse on less than five days’ notice. It was fine. The rest of the marriage has been amazing!

  20. DrGirlfriend says:

    @erratapage: You would be surprised how much emotional distress and social embarassment and ruin pink-and-green hydrangeas can cause, especially when they don’t match your rust-colored theme. She’ll never be able to live it down, because now all her rich friends and relatives think she thinks that pink ‘n green matches rust. Her in-laws will probaby not-so-subtly suggest to her new husband that he could have perhaps done better. Awful.

  21. Why does one wrong thing totally ruin it for the bride?

    @erratapage: The idea (maybe even pressure) that it has to be perfect. Anything from nagging and interference from the family to having OCD. That and the people you’re giving money to are telling you that your wedding should be perfect and that’s why it’s worth spending the money.

  22. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    @erratapage: Ive been to 200k weddings and weddings at the VFW with deli trays. I have more fun at the cheap ones. I dont get how she is claiming 400k in damages either, but if that was the final cost of the wedding I could understand it, if not support the claim.

  23. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @Skeptic:

    Suggesting that a woman should be shot in the face because she expects a vendor to live up to their contract is the kind of violent BS that should get you banned.

    I agree — YourHero88 will no longer be gracing us with his presence. I’m only leaving his comment in place because half the other comments on the thread refer to it.

    Thanks to all who brought that violent BS to my attention.

  24. $30,000 for flowers? I would’ve done it for $15,000.

  25. liquisoft says:

    I don’t know anybody with a credit limit at or above $30,000. How could somebody put something like that on a credit card?

    But then again, who would pay $30,000 for flowers? My whole wedding cost less than half of what this woman paid for flowers!

  26. forever_knight says:

    so she paid a lot for flowers. she’s either loaded or debt happy. since she’s a lawyer, i’m guessing she’s loaded.

    but don’t give her crap for having to deal with a broken contract. anyone that has experience the simple pain and annoyance of a vender or contractor that fails to deliver can empathize. it’s not fun.

    p.s. in ie7, the huge title has spilled over into the article.

  27. BigNutty says:

    What I see a lot from watching those “court shows” is it always seems to be the bride that wants to sue for something that was not right at her wedding.

    The groom usually could care less. The wedding is over with. The main reason you had the wedding is to join with a partner for the rest of your life.

    Get on with that life and quit making a big deal about everything you didn’t like at the wedding.

    If you spent $30,000 on flowers who were you trying to impress? What kind of wife is this going to make that she cares more about how the flowers were than concentrating on her new husband?

    I see a divorce in the future.

  28. @bohemian: Yes, for $30K she could have fed a lot of starving children in Africa… and Guatemala… and China… and have some left over to give me to buy a car.. or two!

    What I don’t get is where she came up with the $400,000 she wants for the lawsuit. I would give her a lot more support if she just wanted the $30K back. Could droopy flowers and a dusty vase really completely destroy your wedding? I’d like to know what her husband thinks. “Well, honey, I’m glad you’ve totally overshadowed the symbolism of the day and the gathering of our families over some dead foliage. That’s my girl!”

  29. enm4r says:

    @liquisoft: If you’re willing to pay $30,000 for flowers, you probably have a credit limit that large…

    I, on the other hand, with my credit card limit only in the “new mid to subcompact car” range, could not afford this “moderately priced SUV” range of limit, so I don’t really know.

  30. muddgirl says:

    I’ve read that she asked the vendor for $4,000 to settle the whole thing (which is 1/10 of what she payed for the crappy flowers), and the vendor refused.

    Honestly, most of the critical comments towards the Glatts seems to stem from a) hating rich people, b) hating lawyers, c) hating women, or d) a complete lack of reading comprehension.

    The vendor allegedly reneged on the contract. Now the vendor is trying to weasel out of refunding the money. It’s pretty simple.

  31. @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS:
    Wow, justice in action. Beautiful.

    @DrGirlfriend:
    First, there have to lawsuits out there in the world that aren’t filed by attorneys on their own behalf that don’t come off as obnoxious. Those, however, don’t get reported on and are likely rare, given that not every lawyer is a contract lawyer (or an ethics lawyer, in the case of Jack Thompson, or a sane person, in the case of that pants guy).
    Second: your handle is awesome.

    @liquisoft:
    I’m 26 and my limit is 17k. My dad’s is unlimited. I’m sure she had enough credit, although I’m not sure they allow single purchases of that much. I’m also not sure of the wedge Visa would take out of that purchase.
    Amen to you though for having a (relatively) cheap wedding. May mine be as sane someday.

  32. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    @muddgirl: If she feels that 4k would settle it why is she sue for 400k? It seems to me that is why people are angry. Its like Mr. Pants, its tough to see why people would look to make a windfall off a simple vendor error. If she had sued for 4k, or even the 30k cost of the flowers this wouldnt be a story.

  33. @muddgirl:

    You got it. 400k probably covers the wedding + “emotional damages,” but she’ll probably settle for 10k or less though just to get it over with.

    And we all get another field day to bash on crazy lawyers. Weehaw.

  34. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @krylonultraflat:

    Thanks. Again, the fact that other commenters flagged the report made it possible for me to respond quickly. I’m glad there are so many people around who want to keep Consumerist high-quality.

  35. mcjake says:

    I’m getting married in 6 months, and if I paid $30,000 for them I would want them fucking perfect! But $400,000 in damages? A little much.

  36. muddgirl says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.: She sues for $400,000 so that a jury can award her maximum damages, if they see fit. If she only sues for $30k, then that’s the most the jury can award her, even if the jury decides she suffered punitive damages as well. It’s a very common strategy.

  37. winter_in_asia says:

    As a professional photographer, I have to take issue with this part of the complaint:

    Often, dishonest vendors insist upon payment by cash or check so that in the event of a dispute, it will be harder for the bride to get back her money.

    I’ve not met a single photographer who is willing to book a wedding without some sort of deposit. While the complaint does not explicitly state that only dishonest vendors require a cash deposit, there’s a strong implication to that end. No vendor is going to set aside a whole day for a wedding (and turn down other potential clients) without some guarantee that they’ll still get paid if the wedding doesn’t happen.

    This suit reads like a public service announcement for contracts in the wedding industry.

  38. MommaJ says:

    Oh, I feel her pain. My wedding was over thirty years ago and I can still remember the shock and dismay I felt when the florist delivered flowers that were the completely wrong color. Once you’ve planned this very important day for months, coddling every detail, it’s damn infuriating to see some bozo make a mess. (Luckily, we had only paid a small downpayment, and we simply ignored the subsequent bill. The florist made one phone call for payment, got an earful, and dropped the matter entirely.) I don’t understand why all the harsh words here are for the unlucky bride, rather than the scummy vendor.

  39. JiminyChristmas says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.: While I agree that $400,000 seems a little out of bounds, presuming that the vendor is indeed at fault, the damages need to sting a little.

    If the vendor were to pony up just the difference between the $30K she was paid and the actual value of what she delivered, what would be the fairness in that? There needs to be some sort of penalty for failing to perform on the contract. Otherwise, what incentive does the vendor have to deliver? The vendor can cheap out at the front end and leave it to the customer to somehow recoup the actual value of what they paid for.

    It’s easy to deride the lawyer in this story because paying $30K for flower is absolfrickinlutely nuts to 99.9% of the people in this country. That said, what would you do if you paid for a loaded BMW 323 and the dealer handed you the keys to one that didn’t have heated seats, GPS, or a sport suspension package…and then told you to go suck it? It would still be a nice car, but it wouldn’t be what you paid for.

  40. lhutz34 says:

    @muddgirl:
    It’s not even $400K. She has five different counts:
    Breach of contract: $43K
    Unjust enrichment: $27K
    Fraud: $200K compensatory damages + $90K punitive damages
    Negligent misrepresentation: $50K
    NY Gen. Bus. Law 349: TBD at trial

    The $27K for the flowers is included in all of those counts, but it’s not like she’s going to get paid five times if she wins on all counts. She’ll also have to prove damages for each of those counts, and as muddgirl said, the numbers are large primarily so the jury has room to award what it thinks is fair.

    For example, let’s assume the wedding cost $200K and the bad flowers ruined it completely. If the florist made an honest screw up, he should still have to provide a refund for his breach of contract, but he’s not necessarily responsible for the other damages to the event, even if they were caused by the bad flowers. If he intentionally provided substandard flowers and knew what that would do to the wedding as a whole, however, then that’s fraud and he’s responsible for a lot more of that bill, and possibly all of it. (This is drastically oversimplified, but you get the idea).

    I think it was incredibly wasteful to spend that much on flowers, but that just makes her guilty of being rich and having bad taste. The florist, if the complaint is true, looks to be guilty of a bait and switch fraud, and should not be allowed to get away with it just because his victim is unsympathetic.

  41. Geekybiker says:

    Just curious, I understood that most merchant agreements with VISA etc state that in order to accept credit cards as all they must accept them for all purchases, with no minimums or maximums. Of course this isn’t a law thing, its a contract thing so how much could be done by a 3rd party other than making VISA aware of it, I dont know.

  42. fejjnagaf says:

    @liquisoft:
    Amex Black has no credit limit.
    FYI.
    My girlfriend, who is not rich by any stretch, has a $25000 limit.

  43. Major-General says:

    @JustAGuy2: Do we know that she was defrauded? Most agreements for flowers have language that basically says we’re not responsible for color variations and reserve the right to substitute if a particular request is unavailable.

    I see a bridezilla, and it isn’t pretty.

  44. bohemian says:

    The moral of the story? Get married at the courthouse, hop a plane to a nice vacation destination and mail out announcements when you get back.
    Well, if you want to avoid the pain and anguish.

  45. fejjnagaf says:

    The funny part is how reactionary people are without understanding the actual suit.
    This woman spent money for a specific flower/color/arrangement.
    It does not matter how much she spent.
    Instead of supplying the woman with the correct flower/correct color/correct arrangement, the florist attempted to enrich the deal for his personal gain by substituting a different flower/color/arrangement.
    This is a direct violation of the contract that he is part of.
    As a result, this woman’s wedding was ruined. She wasn’t happy. Being as the modern wedding has become one of the most significant parts of the brides life, it is not beyond reason that she is upset over a broken contract that, in her mind, ruined the event.
    The fact that she is a lawyer is also of no consequence.
    The reality of the situation is that she likely invited more than just family to this event – there were likely clients, partners in her firm, and other parties that may be able to affect her future income. Laugh all you want, but in many cases appearences are important. If just one of the partners decide that her color scheme being off is indicitive of her attention to detail, or a client decides that the flowers were skimpy – so what else will she skimp on – she could lose financially.
    The reality is that she was ripped off. A contract was broken.
    She is well within her rights to file a lawsuit.
    It doesn’t matter one bit that she spent what appears to be too much on flowers. Nor does it matter that she may be wealthy.
    What matters here is the integrity of our legal systems integrity in terms of contractual obligations.
    Remember, we are all equal under the law (or at least we are supposed to be). That means that her wealth, her profession, and her disposition are not at issue – what is at issue is a long standing set of legal precedents that protect both parties in a contract.

  46. latemodel says:

    All my merchant agreements, ie contracts with credit card companies, specifically state that if a merchant accepts cards, they must accept a card for any transaction. AMEX is the most aggressive about their cardholders privileges and states that refusal to take a valid card is potentially a $50,000 fee. The entire agreement is about 100 pages.

  47. What kind of wife is this going to make that she cares more about how the flowers were than concentrating on her new husband?

    I see a divorce in the future.

    @BigNutty: I’m sorry, but that’s just dumb. It’s supposed to be OK for people she’s buying items and/or services from to screw up because it’s a wedding?

  48. fejjnagaf says:

    It is also funny that no one here is braying about ‘blaming the victim’ when so many clearly are.
    I guess ‘rich lawyers’ don’t deserve the same treatment as poor people?

  49. ConRoo says:

    I don’t believe this woman is entitled to $400,000 in damages.

    My daughter was married 4 years ago. The flower bill was a comparatively modest $7,000. The roses were an orangey-red, the wedding had a wine theme. Do you have a visual? I was not happy, but my florist did do the work and delivered on time. Knowing this … I walked into the shop andn quietly talked to the owner. BTW,he has a great reputation in our town. He explained the flowers shipped in were not what he had ordered, but had to go with them… No time to reorder. I would have been happier if he would have called me, but he didn’t. Anyway, we had also rented some pew bows, etc. All I asked from him was to take the rental fee off the bill and I would “forget” the mistake. He agreed. I got a great discount, he protected his reputation AND was still able to pay for materials and his staff. We all went away happy. Now we laugh about it.

    You see, it’s all in how you look at it. America needs to lighten up a bit!

  50. morganlh85 says:

    If it happens as she says, she deserves to win the suit. However I still have little sympathy for the type of person who would spend $30 thousand on FLOWERS for their wedding.

  51. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    @latemodel: Thats easily worked around for vendors like a florist. They simply set up their wedding services as a seperate unit of the business. So their “In store” or immediate order business (like delivery or immediate orders) can take a card, while a planned event like a wedding, that requires advanced planning and payment would be set up as “XYZ florist EVENTS” and can refuse cards without angering VISA.

    I go to a restaurant regularly that is the same way. I eat there or order same day takeout (sometimes for 10-12 people) for events and can pay with a CC any time. At the same time if I set up a future event for 50 that requires a deposit they will require a cash or check payment. They also do so because they usually need the cash to pay for the supplies for that specific event.

  52. PikaPikaChick says:

    If I spend $30K on flowers, they had better damn skippy be perfect.

    Not that I would spend 30K on flowers, because that’s retarded.

  53. fejjnagaf says:

    @ConRoo:
    I’m glad you were able to work it out with your florist.
    Unfortunately, this young lady tried to work it out with the florist and the florist refused. He was trying to ‘stick it to her’.
    It is all how you look at it. And THIS florist didn’t want to take care of it quickly and quietly. He assumed that she would make threats and drop it. She didn’t.
    You are correct that people should always try to work stuff like this out. She did. The florist refused to work with her. She initially asked for $4k back and he wouldn’t budge.
    So what should she have done?

  54. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Major-General:

    If her contract had that language, then she has no case. I can tell you that our contract had no such language. Florist was to (and did) provide X centerpieces consisting of Y flowers of Z size, and had a photo of the sample she prepared.

  55. fejjnagaf says:

    @morganlh85:
    Why?
    Let’s change the material. Instead of flowers, she bought a car.
    She ordered a $30,000 Acura TL with sunroof, bluetooth, DVD audio, leather – the works.
    Instead, she was delivered a used TSX with cloth and none of the features she ordered.
    Is it okay for her NOW to sue?
    Why get hung up on the fact that she spent that much on flowers?
    Don’t people who spend more money than you would have deserve justice?
    Aren’t the rich just as protected as the poor under our system of bling justice?
    Why deny a woman her due just because you don’t approve of the way she spends her money?
    If she bought a $2000 diamond necklace and found out later that it was cubic zirconia, would you sympathize with her?
    Who care what she spends her money on? It’s HER MONEY!

  56. crnk says:

    @ConRoo:
    My uncle did a family wedding a couple of years ago, and I remember that he remarked that the flowers the vendor got were not quite the right color, but since he couldn’t reorder and that they were pretty close, he just worked with them and made it great anyway. Sure they weren’t the exact colors he was hoping for, but I don’t think anyone noticed that there was more green than intended and the flowers were 10% darker than he ordered (or however much it was).

  57. Crymson_77 says:

    @JustAGuy2: And as part of the signing of said contract, she may have required the removal of that clause. Just because it is in the contract doesn’t mean you have to agree to that part. Cross it out and initial the change, have the other person initial the change, and for kicks have a third party initial the change as a witness. Wish we could do that with wireless carriers…

  58. kenposan says:

    $30K on things that will die within days. Talk about a consumption mentality.

    My wedding didn’t cost $30K. Hell, my wedding didn’t cost $5K, and we had a nice wedding.

    /I’m in the wrong business.
    //I don’t accept credit cards either.

  59. hexychick says:

    30K worth of flowers does not equate a 400K lawsuit. I don’t care how emotionally damaging it was. For that kind of money, you should be smart enough to pay a deposit up front and the rest upon delivery. At that point you see the delivery, it doesn’t meet your expectationsm and you refuse the remaining money. Common sense. If a deposit isn’t allowed, you pay with something you can cancel like a check or credit card. Flowers could not possibly be purchased so far in advance that a check couldn’t be cancelled in time or a stop payment issued. A lawyer of all people should know the laws and know what the vendor can and cannot get away with. If you can afford to pay for 30K worth of flowers then you can take the time to find a reputable vendor, argue for a deposit system, and find a way to cover your ass. I have zero sympathy for this situation.

  60. UpsetPanda says:

    Goodness. All this talk of expensive flowers is making me want to double check with my florist. I know for a fact that my florist has a great reputation, and I’ve met with her twice already to discuss things. This woman needs to get her money back, but not $400k in damages.

  61. Geekybiker says:

    This reminds me of that judge who sued the cleaner over his pants….

  62. If a deposit isn’t allowed, you pay with something you can cancel like a check or credit card.

    @hexychick: Please read the article.

    I guess ‘rich lawyers’ don’t deserve the same treatment as poor people?

    @fejjnagaf: No, because people who have lots of money and actually spend it on things are clearly insane. Rich people should shop at the Dollar General and save their money. Not to spend on something pricey later, just save it until they’re dead.

  63. Bay State Darren says:

    @Yourhero88: Wow, you’re an asshole!

  64. B says:

    @bohemian: Can starving people eat flowers? Cause I’m not following the logic here.

  65. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    Wow, what a happy way to start off married life.

    I bet her husband is thinking he got the great end of the deal–although he probably didn’t have much choice; if he’d ended their relationship she’d have sued him for something…

  66. JayXJ says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS:

    Thank you. Nice to see Consumerist cleaning up a bit.

  67. kingofmars says:

    @bohemian: There are people starving in Africa.

    The people starving in Africa should learn to grow flowers.

  68. fejjnagaf says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    Nice!
    I’m off to go return everything I’ve ever bought.

  69. fejjnagaf says:

    @Scarfish:
    And that’s the most prickish comment, save for the ‘shoot her in the face’ comment.
    I’m sure the husband can’t be too upset with it, as a win will result in a nice financial settlement.
    Perhaps in your world, the ideal wife is quiet and allows you to get screwed by whomever chooses to screw you, me? I’d rather have someone who cares enough to fight a bit.

  70. fejjnagaf says:

    @hexychick:
    You are a nutbag.
    She did what she should have done and didn’t do anything wrong, yet you impugn her for it.
    Why? Because you, in your infinite wisdom and clear understanding of both the law and how lawsuits work, think she is wrong to ask for that much money.
    It’s sort of like how you buy a house – you can’t offer the exact amount you want to buy it for, because that is viewed as an introduction to negotiations.
    As a home seller, you also cannot list your house at the exact price you wish. If you list at $200k, the potential buyer might offer $185k, but he/she will not offer $200k unless he/she is a complete and total moron (or a first time homebuyer who didn’t get any help, which qualifies them as a complete and total moron anyway).
    It is about setting a high enough ceiling so that she gets fairly compensated.
    If she sues for $35k, but the jury feels she deserves $100,000, they can’t award her more than what she sued for.
    i love it when people who are ignorant pretend they know better…..

  71. Bay State Darren says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: Sorry, didn’t see your post before I shot my mouth off.

  72. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @Bay State Darren:

    I’m keeping an eye on things. ;-)

    @JayP71:

    Thanks.

    @fejjnagaf:

    You are making some valid points, but there’s no need to cheapen your argument by namecalling.

  73. Vicky says:

    I’ve worked at a couple of these events – not weddings, but big society activities which share most of the same characteristics as a wedding reception (an anniversary, a fashion show, a museum fundraiser, a charity concert, a ballet foundation gala, and so forth). One of the hot hotels in my city, booked for years in advance, costs a minimum of $35,000 + 20% gratuity + 8.25% sales tax for a four hour event with dinner – one can expect a much higher price with alcohol. It’s the sort of place you’d enjoy a $500-a-plate dinner to support your favorite presidential candidate. Once booked, this exquisitely expensive room can be expected to be filled to near capacity with approximately 50 round tables of 8-10 seats apiece, each with a $350 centerpiece ($150 of which may be the vase, which could be auctioned for charity for some of these events) and about a $10 chair decoration of some sort. Assume another $500 for buffet table and entryway flowers, and several hundred dollars more if it happens to be an event that needs Christmas trees, a balloon drop, or whatever. My math brings the total florist cost for such an event to near $20,000 after tax, and I don’t live in New York City, where one can only imagine the luxe market is even more overheated.

    You can tsk-tsk all you like, but the sort of florist who can even begin to -imagine- fulfilling a $30,000 order works in such figures every single weekend and they know good and well what will happen if they do not live up to their contract.

  74. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    I’m still getting lots of flagged reports about YourHero88′s comment. He has been taken care of.

    Thanks again for calling the comment to my attention.

  75. descend says:

    @fejjnagaf:

    I really don’t want the law rewarding people for being hysterical about their wedding. It shouldn’t matter is she spent a year obsessing over Martha Stewart weddings or was trying to use her wedding to impress her firm’s partners. There was an event, and allegedly the wrong color flowers were delivered. Period. I don’t care if it’s a wedding or a VFW luncheon: if I’m on that jury I’m not rewarding someone for losing all perspective whatsoever.

    And please, don’t generalize to make all women sound this shallow:

    Being as the modern wedding has become one of the most significant parts of the brides life, .

  76. camille_javal says:

    My guess would be, unless she’s as crazy as Mr. Pants, she’s not going to push for the full 400k. It’s in the nature of our system to encourage complainants to ask for as much as they can, but punitive damages don’t usually fly that far, and even many of the giant jury awards we hear about are later reduced by the judge if the judge determines it’s too ridiculous. You’re also legally required to bring every connected claim you might ever wish to bring against this person, so you see a lot of stretching at this phase.

    Mind you, I’m going to be a lawyer, and will probably be able to afford $30k flowers at my wedding, but, man, fuck that noise.

  77. scarletvirtue says:

    @winter_in_asia: My stepdad was the same way for the rare instances when he took wedding photos.

    He asked for a deposit, which was applied to the photos purchased by the couple – even if they were family friends or fellow church members, business is business.

    I don’t see anything wrong in anyone requiring a deposit when it comes to those services. If I’m asking someone to take their entire day to photograph my wedding, or make an extravagant cake, I know that I’ll be expected to put down something for that person’s time and labor dedicated to my “big day”.

  78. spunky_redhead15 says:

    you know, i can hear out both parties in this…and i don’t think anymore’s really said anything about this, so i will.

    yes, the woman spent an obscene amount of money on her wedding. i don’t nessecarily agree with that, as my wedding was the full out white dress, church wedding with a simple picnic-style reception with a five tier cake and a dance with a beer keg and the whole thing was done for under $5,000, including my dress and the flowers. but as a bride, i know how much it means to have things just as you always dreamt of. all my flowers were silks, but i wouldn’t stop until i found enough PERFECT silk stargazer lilies to make my bouquet, two bridesmaid boquets, two altar arrangements and other perfect silks to do the rest of the arrangements. when you’ve worked so hard to plan out color schemes and flowers and the whole nine yards, to have something completely different show up is heartbreaking, and to be told to sit on it by the vendor who failed to provide is adding salt to the wound. the florist could have at least made a courtesy call to the bride and worked together with her to try to find suitable replacements. two days before my wedding, when our tuxes showed up, my husband’s jacked didn’t fit and his white tie was so grossly dirty it was actually a bit brownish were replaced within 24 hours of me making the complaint. and the tuxes were ordered in from a distributor out of state.

    now i also can see where the florist was coming from. flowers come and go out of season, colors can vary by supplier and also by each individual flower. i couldn’t imagine having to deal with that on a daily basis. mix ups happen. i can understand why the flowers were used, but what i don’t understand is why the florist couldn’t pick up the friggin’ phone and make a simple phone call. i guess i come from too small a town to realize that people in bigger cities are just too busy to give a shit. the florist in my hometown called me before my junior prom called to ask if it was ok to sub hot pink roses for the light pink i ordered for my corsage and boutiniere. but, with this case, the flowers were there and i’m sure they had to be used, so what the heck. still, to me, i do see that pink and red or rust colored flowers are two very different colors. it would have been like giving me calla lilies (which i absoloutely despise) in substitution for stargazer lilies without my consent.

  79. thalia says:

    Call me crazy, but anyone who spends $30,000 on flowers for their wedding is asking for trouble. I just got married and the flowers cost…like, $20 for two nice bouquets of roses and some wildflowers? How many flowers does this lady need?

  80. MollyNYC says:

    My own experience putting together my own wedding is this: Every vendor you deal with–caterers, florists, printers and all the rest–when they see a bride, what they see is a moron with a bank roll.

    Folks, this is where Bridezillas come from.

    I have never had my intelligence insulted quite so much, before or since, by so many would-be scam artists, insisting that my and my intended’s families would be insulted/disappointed/appalled/mortified for generations to come (1) if I didn’t allow these goniffs to substitute their taste for mine–at a mark-up, of course. (When this happens, do not suggest that the ghastly opinions of these people–who are invariably the sort I’ve heard referred to hereabouts as “New York City Hillbillies”–are motivated by anything other than their own precious, precious taste. Their lips start to quiver. It’s very uncomfortable.)

    Snark aside, I realize that these are, for the most part, small businesspeople just trying to make a living. But there are brides you can mess with, and brides you can’t mess with. Posy Floral Design’s problem seems to be their inability to distinguish between the two.

    (1) In all fairness, I must report that I did eventually divorce this guy.

  81. caj11 says:

    Was Roy Pearson at her wedding and did he give her this idea?

    Well, the florist may have seriously screwed up but $400,000 isn’t going fix what’s done and the florist probably doesn’t have it anyway.

  82. crackers says:

    @DESCEND:

    “I really don’t want the law rewarding people for being hysterical about their wedding.”

    Do you instead want the law rewarding people for not following through with their signed contracts?

    I think it’s interesting that so many people can’t see past HOW the money was spent. Should it matter? If you pay a for premium for something, aren’t you within your rights to get what you paid for?

  83. tadowguy says:

    I hope this guy doesn’t ever need Viagra, I can already see that lawsuit from Bridezilla there.

  84. kenblakely says:

    @Jaysyn: OK. You’re an ass.

  85. popeye_doyle says:

    @Geekybiker: Merchants are not required to take credit cards per any agreement with banks. You’re not allowed to charge extra, you’re not allowed to ask for ss# or, in some states, to see a driver’s licence, but you don’t have to take the card if you don’t want to.

  86. Vicky says:

    To those that doubt the ability of the florist to cough up the dough – do you honestly think that a florist that charges $30,000 per event won’t have an umbrella insurance policy for at least $500,000? My dad has a one-man lawn mowing service and even he has a $1 million policy.

  87. bobblack says:

    Paying $30,000 for wedding flowers is absurd to begin with. Suing for almost half a million in compensation is just plain excessive and irresponsible.

    Another morally flexible attorney enters the workforce…

  88. Benstein says:

    I’m sorry, those attacking her are completely wrong.

    Here is an imperfect analogy: You order a car from the factor (say a mini cooper S), you pick out exactly what you want. 8 weeks later the car shows up, but instead of a blue cooper S, it is a black cooper non-S. A lesser car, not what you wanted. However, the dealer will not issue a refund and you are stuck with it. This is a situation that everyone on this blog would agree is completely bogus, but what happened to this lady was WORSE (and even more $, since coopers are less than 30k).

    Wedding companies are an extreme racket. The day before my wedding, I almost got arrested for going APE shit on the tuxedo place when they accused my groomsmen of not showing up for there tuxedo fitting. Even though I DROVE THEM THERE.

    These wedding companies promise you everything, but they know they don’t have to fully deliver. Because after all, if the screw up won’t be noticed until wedding day, chances are after the “happiest day of your life” and your honeymoon, you won’t be in the mood to come back, higher a lawyer (if you spent enough to make it worth it), and seek restitution. I applaud this lady and hope she sues this unscrupulous company out of existence.

  89. descend says:

    @CCS:

    My post doesn’t rely on disapproval over how much she spent. I don’t care if she spent $300 or $300k on flowers. I do care about whether the law should reward her for feeling that the flowers being a different shade of pink than she wanted ruined her wedding and entitles her to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  90. jaewon223 says:

    where are the pics??!

  91. nardo218 says:

    @ArtDonovansLoveChild.: Court fees. She’s asking for the money that compensates her time to defend this case.

  92. Weddings says:

    I think the girl has a good chance of being awarded some of her money back: I don’t agree with the amount she’s sueing for but, she has the right to sue for however much she wants. It is up to the judge/jury to decide if she deserves that amount.
    I am a wedding planner, and I own a wedding rental store, so I can relate to things going wrong; there are very few weddings that go off without a issue here or there. I had chocolate fountain quit after it was running 10 minutes. I was upset about it, I refunded the full amount, and made a heartfull apology. That’s fair!! The florists that charge $30K for flowers should be able to back up her product with fresh beautiful flowers (there is dye that she could have dipped the flowers in to get closer to the color), and not put empty dirty vases on any of the tables. This is a unacceptable act on her part. My only advice for people who are planning a wedding is to ask for refernces, check the refernces, and ask to see photos of the weddings or flowers of previous weddings they have done. If they can’t provide this; go somewhere else Good luck to the girl; I hope she wins most of her money back!
    One last thing: Vendors as myself, do require the client to be paid in full 1 week prior to the wedding date. There are a lot of people that won’t pay after the occasion is over. And, you won’t believe the people who write checks knowing they don’t have the money. The 1 week gives us the chance to make sure the check clears. It’s just good business.

  93. jheavner says:

    I’m a little late to the party but I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

    First of all, it doesn’t matter which party we agree with individually or who we think is right or wrong in the story. It doesn’t matter if we personally think the amount is too high, too low, or just right. This will come down to what her contract stated or if she didn’t have a contract, what her implied rights are in that state as a consumer. The florist can negate some liability through disclaimer cannot absolve themselves of fraud or negligence, which is where this case seems to be heading. I have no idea what the burden of proof is in New York for fraud but it most likely won’t matter since this case will never see the inside of a courtroom. If she is a determined litigant then the florist’s insurance company will settle with her.

    Please don’t compare a non-durable good, like flowers, with a durable good, like an automobile. The analogy is silly. A better analogy is that you are measured for a suit (a non-durable consumer good) that you plan to wear to an interview and then pick it up on the day of your interview and find the fabric is a different color and the alterations have caused it to fit poorly. Was fraud committed? Did the suit cause you to lose on potential future earnings? Did you receive goods inferior to what was purchased?