Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit Thursday against wedding videographer Jesse Clark and his Millbury, Mass.-based store, SureShot, for allegedly failing to deliver wedding videos to scores of newlyweds.
“We want to make sure we stop Jesse Clark and SureShot from doing business in an unfair and deceptive manner,” Coakley said.
Coakley also obtained a temporary restraining order in Suffolk Superior Court against Clark, which forbids him from destroying any videos still in his possession. Clark’s assets were frozen as well.
“A wedding day is one of the happiest days in a person’s life,” Coakley said. “Yet sadly, we allege that SureShot took advantage of dozens of newlyweds, robbing them of thousands of dollars and priceless memories. We’re working to recover the videos and money lost by these couples and to prevent this from happening again.”
The lawsuit, which also cites Clark’s wife Veronica Clark and his employee Keith Morin, seeks more than $75,000 in civil penalties, restitution and costs. Coakley told NBC Connecticut more than 84 couples have complained that they did not receive their videos as guaranteed in contracts co-signed by Clark. Most couples paid between $800 and $2,000 up front for Clark’s videography services, according to the lawsuit.
Clark and his wife Veronica, along with Morin, did not respond to request for comment on Thursday.
Couples in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Texas, California and Massachusetts have been left without precious memories, including Ryan and Lauren Baldner.
“I’d love to see my wife walk down that aisle again,” Ryan Baldner said on Thursday.
“It’s been devastating. We just wanted to preserve those memories,” Lauren Baldner added.
Last May, after hearing from scores of unhappy couples, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters tried to get answers from Clark at his Millbury store. He ran out the back door of his shop and later in a separate encounter, Clark tackled an NBC Connecticut videographer.
After pressure from Millbury Police, Clark handed over four hard drives of limited raw wedding footage to detective Nicholas Fortunato last summer. However, many couples have still not received anything from Clark. According to NBC Connecticut’s interviews and the lawsuit filed by Coakley, most couples paid in full, up front, expecting to receive a highlight video two days after their ceremony and a 90-minute DVD approximately 60 days after their wedding date.
In a letter last spring, Clark gave couples numerous excuses for why he had not delivered the wedding video on time: a power surge to his computers, flooding during Tropical Storm Irene, and a shortage of custom-engraved DVD cases promised in the contract. By August and September, Clark stopped returning messages and emails from couples altogether.
Shortly after NBC Connecticut’s initial report, Clark suddenly shut down his store in Millbury, Mass. and began advertising wedding video businesses online under new names including Magnolia Films and InFocus. Clark also threatened customers that they would never receive their videos after they posted negative reviews of his work on popular websites like The Knot, Wedding Wire and Yelp.
Attorney General Coakley said after this lawsuit, Clark will still technically be able to open other businesses in the future, but she hopes this action will discourage him from doing so again.
The Connecticut Attorney General’s office says it continues to look into complaints filed by couples in the state.