Samir Tabar and his ex-girlfriend Angela Kovalesky ()
UPDATE, 3/26/14, 1:30 p.m. EDT: Additional comments from John Balestriere, the attorney representing Houck and Tabar, have been added to this article.
Former Schulte Roth & Zabel associate Samir Tabar has responded to a former girlfriend’s accusations of battery and infliction of emotional distress with a court filing of his own in which he calls her suit “baseless” while claiming that he and his current fiancée are the actual victims of harassment.
Tabar responded to the suit filed against him last month by his former girlfriend, Angela Kovalesky, in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan Monday with a 157-page filing [PDF] Monday that accuses Kovalesky of inflicting emotional distress upon him and his fiancée, Scarlett Hauck (who is referred to as “Scarlett Etienne” in the filing).
Tabar’s response also includes counterclaims alleging that Kovalesky made false claims against him that caused him to lose his job at Schulte Roth and have prevented him from finding another job. Tabar also accuses Kovalesky of destroying his property, including two cellphones and a laptop computer, and says she has yet to return his leather jacket. (As The Am Law Daily has reported previously, a Schulte Roth spokeswoman told The Am Law Daily last month that Tabar no longer worked at the firm. )
In her original complaint, Kovalesky claimed Tabar was “emotionally and physically abusive” during a three-year relationship that she says caused her to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kovalesky’s suit included descriptions of incidents during which Tabar allegedly physically harmed her and threatened her with a knife. She also claimed Tabar hid an electronic device typically used by dog-owners to track pets in her purse in order to keep tabs on her and threatened to blackmail her with “inappropriate photos” taken while she slept.
Tabar’s response denying those allegations came in conjunction with a separate civil suit filed Monday [PDF] by Hauck against Kovalesky in which the latter is accused of “stalking” Hauck and Tabar while inundating them with “harassing” e-mails, phone calls and text messages.
Hauck’s suit claims Kovalesky tracked Hauck and Tabar on social media—allegedly going so far as to create a fake social media account on Facebook to follow Hauck—and was thus able to determine that the two had traveled to a resort in Indonesia last May. Hauck and Tabar allege in their respective filings that Kovalesky then made a “harassing and threatening phone call” to their hotel room in which she told them she would “disrupt their lives” and “destroy” Tabar if he did not end his relationship with Hauck and pay Kovalesky $1 million.
Hauck, who is a professional DJ, accuses Kovalesky of defamation and slander for allegedly referring to Hauck regularly as a “slut” and “a common tramp” in messages and phone calls to Tabar. Hauck further claims that Kovalesky’s alleged actions hurt her business, saying she was forced to limit her social media presence in order to avoid Kovalesky, which, in turn, affected her ability to promote her DJ performances (Hauck says the frequency of her shows has cut in half since last fall). In her suit, Hauck seeks damages in excess of $175,000 as a result of Kovalesky’s alleged actions. For his part, Tabar seeks damages in excess of $4,400 as well as attorney’s fees.
Kovalesky’s lawyer, James Ingoglia, issued the following statement on his client’s behalf in response to the filings by Hauckand Tabar: “While it is admirable that Ms. Etienne/Hauck has decided to stand by her man, it is unfortunate that she has decided to do so by the filing of a meritless companion suit riddled with false allegations against Ms. Kovalesky, the real victim here. Any problems that Ms. Etienne suffered as a result of her relationship with Mr. Tabar are a result of Mr. Tabar and his misconduct. Ms. Kovalesky never had any direct contacts with Ms. Etienne, aside from a brief meeting in 2012 when Mr. Tabar presented her to Ms. Kovalesky as the ‘girlfriend’ of his brother. The allegations that Ms. Kovalesky actively stalked Ms. Etienne online via social media are a complete fiction. Ms. Kovalesky only learned Ms. Etienne was Mr. Tabar’s ‘fiancée’ long after the relationship ended. Once the full evidence is presented in court, the damages Mr. Tabar inflicted, and continues to inflict, on Ms. Kovalesky will be evident for all to see.”
Both Hauck and Tabar are represented by New York attorney John Balestriere of Balestriere, Fariello & Abrams. Balestriere also filed a request on Monday to consolidate Hauck’s suit with Tabar’s counterclaim.
Reaching out to The Am Law Daily on Wednesday, Balestriere said an important distinction between his clients’ Monday filings and Kovalesky’s original suit is his clients’ inclusion of copious exhibits including copies of text messages and e-mails between Kovalesky, Tabar and Houck. “There are e-mails and [copies of] texts that are real time…that were put into our complaint that support the assertions of Tabar and Etienne [aka Houck]. Whereas, there are no exhibits which are attached to Kovalesky’s complaint,” Balestriere says. He adds that his clients “think it’s unfortunate that we have to be here and, simply, would rather have moved on from the relationship, but they’ve experienced significant damages because Ms. Kovalesky would not [move on from the relationship].”
He also tells The Am Law Daily it will be up to the court to determine the amount of the damages Tabar is owed, if any, but Balestrierre feels his client is owed “in the many, many hundreds of thousands [of dollars] at least,” mainly due to the fact that Tabar lost his job as a result of the legal proceedings.
Tabar’s countersuit also sheds some light on the surrounding his departure from Schulte Roth, where, according to the filing, he earned $235,000 a year. The suit claims Tabar received a voice message and e-mail from Schulte Roth M&A partner Stuart Freedman the day Kovalesky’s complaint was filed telling Tabar that Freedman needed to speak to him immediately. When Tabar returned the call later that day, he claims he found himself on the phone with both Freedman and Schulte Roth executive committee chair Alan Waldenberg. The two high-ranking partners informed Tabar that his employment was being terminated because Kovalesky’s suit was “‘too embarrassing to the firm,’” according to Tabar’s filing.
At the time, the suit also claims Tabar had been “on leave for one month to take care of his parents, but intended to return” to Schulte until he was fired. The Am Law Daily noted in its original story about Kovalesky’s suit that a review of New York bar records showed Tabar’s license to practice law had been suspended due to failure to pay the biennial registration fee. At the time, a a spokesman for Tabar said he was in the process of seeking a reversal of the suspension. As of Tuesday, records showed that Tabar’s law license was still suspended.