Clarinet Player Awarded $350,000 After Ex-Girlfriend Fakes University Rejection Email
Eric Abramovitz met Jennifer Jooyeon Lee in September 2013 while they were both studying at McGill’s Schulich School of Music. The couple dove into their relationship head-first, moving forward quickly and moving in together after only dating for a short amount of time. Having no reason not to trust Lee, Abramovitz often left his social media and email open around the house, and trusted Lee with things like his email passwords.
At the time, Abramovitz was winning many awards and was already being recognized as a talented musician. He decided to pursue his dream of studying under Yehuda Gilad, a top professor of clarinet at Colburn School, part of the University of Southern California. Gilad only accepts two students a year, on all-expenses-paid scholarships worth $50,000. Abramovitz even flew out to Los Angeles to audition for Gilad, but when the time came to hear back, unfortunately, Lee got to the email first.
According to the court documents, Lee deleted the acceptance email, and sent a fake one from an email she created: [email protected]
"I was numb when I read the email. I had to read it a few more times," Abramovitz told Buzzfeed News.
"When I found out I didn't get it, it was really hard to deal with. I went through some really dark, sad, angry days."
"We were living together at the time so she was the one to console me when I found out," he recalled. "It's really sick now that I look back on it."
The couple ended their relationship not long after the rejection, as "things were getting too intense and some things just weren't working out."
2 years later, a still determined Abramovitz auditioned for Gilad again.
"We went into a room to chat after I finished and he asked me what I was doing here," Abramovitz said. "He was like, 'You rejected me. Why are you here?'"
"I was like, 'Uh, no, you rejected me,' and he was like, 'No, you did,' and we had this awkward exchange where we kept going back and forth like that and I thought maybe he had confused me with someone else,"
Abramovitz knew that something was clearly not adding up, and decided to look deeper into the issue. When he dug up his rejection email to show Gilad, the clarinet maestro confirmed Abramovitz's fear: that was not Gilad's email address, and he had never seen that email in his life.
It didn't take much longer for Abramovitz to put two and two together, and jump on legal action. Though the damage from the incident can never truly be repaired, the judge ruled in favor of Abramovitz and awarded the clarinet player $300,000 in general damages, including for loss of reputation, loss of educational opportunity, and loss of two years of potential income. He even tacked on an extra $50,000 “against Ms. Lee for her despicable interference in Mr. Abramovitz’s career.”