Eric Abramovitz (Facebook)

Woman must pay musician ex-boyfriend $350K for sabotaging coveted opportunity

Ontario Superior Court justice lambasted Jennifer Lee for ‘despicable conduct’ against Eric Abramovitz

A woman who sabotaged her boyfriend’s highly coveted career opportunity apparently because she feared he would leave her for the United States has been ordered to pay him $350,000 in damages.

In a decision this week, an Ontario Superior Court justice lambasted Jennifer Lee for “despicable conduct” that harmed Eric Abramovitz, an aspiring professional musician in his 20s.

Court records show Lee and Abramovitz were students at the Schulich School of Music at Montreal’s McGill University in 2013 when they began an intimate relationship, and he all but moved in to her apartment. She had full access to his laptop, the records show.

A multiple award-winning clarinetist, Abramovitz applied in December 2013 to study at the prestigious Coburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles under Yehuda Gilad, an internationally renowned clarinet teacher. Although Gilad only accepts two clarinet students a year, Abramovitz made the cut after a rigorous screening and auditioning process, court records show.

In March 2014, the school emailed Abramovitz to say he had been accepted, an offer that carried with it a full two-year scholarship and stipend. Except he never saw the email, court records show.

Lee intercepted and deleted the acceptance and, pretending to be him, declined the offer because he would be “elsewhere,” according to the court.

She also went a step further by composing and sending an email to Abramovitz — purportedly from Gilad — using an email address she created, giladyehuda09@gmail.com, to inform him that he had not been accepted at Coburn, the court said.

“Abramovitz was completely taken in by this deception,” Justice David Corbett wrote. “As a consequence, Mr. Abramovitz lost the two year full-scholarship opportunity to study with Mr. Gilad.”

A year later, after his relationship with Lee had ended, Abramovitz was performing for Gilad again and it began to dawn on him something had been amiss. When he finally figured out what had happened, he sued Lee in August 2016. He claimed damages for her deceit, invasion of his privacy, and intentional or negligent infliction of mental suffering.

Her acts, he claimed, had damaged his reputation, cost him an educational opportunity, and delayed his career advancement thereby costing him lost income.

In a sworn affidavit filed with the court, Gilad denounced what had happened to Abramovitz, who now lives in Nashville but will join the Toronto Symphony Orchestra later this year.

“I am very frustrated that a highly talented musician like Eric was the victim of such an unthinkable, immoral act that delayed his progress and advancement as an up-and-coming young musician and delayed his embarking on a most promising career,” Gilad said.

Lee, who lives in Toronto, never responded to the lawsuit or defended herself, leading Corbett to find her liable by default. Corbett said it appeared her motivation was to ensure Abramovitz would stay in Montreal and remain in their relationship.

In awarding $300,000 to Abramovitz in general damages and another $50,000 in punitive and aggravated damages, Corbett described Lee’s behaviour as a “reprehensible betrayal” of her boyfriend’s trust and an “unthinkable, immoral act.”

“This was despicable conduct by Ms. Lee,” Corbett said in his judgment.

While the punitive damages were modest, Corbett called it a symbolic award that should be taken as “very strong condemnation of morally reprehensible conduct.” The aggravated damages were partial compensation for the loss Abramovitz suffered by having a “closely held personal dream snatched from him by a person he trusted,” Corbett said.

Corbett also ordered Lee, who could not immediately be reached for comment, to pay him $25,000 to cover his legal fees.

Marshall Reinhart, Abramovitz’s lawyer, said in an interview that they now faced the task of collecting on the judgment.

“My client should be compensated for his loss,” Reinhart said. “It was an extreme case of betrayal of trust in addition to what he lost financially.”

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

UPDATED: Evacuation alerts due to Chutanli Lake Fire expanded; Shag Creek area put on alert

40 properties on alert due to Chutanli Lake Fire; 17 due to Shag Creek

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

VIDEO: B.C. city to host Western Regional Quidditch Championship in 2019

The fictional game in the Harry Potter series has become popular around the world, with 600 athletes in Canada alone

Most Read