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

Fire crews called to attend smoke in Qualicum Beach seniors building

Cause of smoke was plastic plate left on top of heating unit

Qualicum Beach council split on Pheasant Glen development decision

Council approves permit for two buildings, after enviro, hydrological studies

Oceanside RCMP raises $4,000 for Tour de Rock

Members of the Oceanside RCMP detachment were out at Save On Foods… Continue reading

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Subject subdivision application withdrawn in Parksville

Berwick Retirement Communities Ltd has withdrawn a subject subdivision application for 180… Continue reading

VIDEO: Check out the Art Battle action from Qualicum Bay

Artists had 20 minutes to finishing painting in 12-person competition

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Most Read