Schulte Roth & Zabel said Thursday it no longer employs associate Samir Tabar, who was accused of battery and infliction of emotional distress in a suit filed by a former girlfriend who claims he was “emotionally and physically abusive” during a three-year relationship that resulted in her being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Tabar’s accuser, Angela Kovalesky, filed the suit [PDF] in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. As first reported by the New York Post, the suit details one incident in which Tabar allegedly struck Kovalesky and left bruises on her arms and legs while damaging several items in her apartment and threatening her with a knife. Kovalesky also claims in her complaint that Tabar embarked on a “campaign of harassment and threats” that apparently featured an “endless stream of texts and emails” directed at her.
Those messages, the suit claims, included threats of “dire consequences” if Kovalesky ignored Tabar, who allegedly said he would contact her family and tell them she had a drug addiction. Tabar also allegedly hid an electronic tracking device of the type used by dog-owners to track their pets in Kovalesky’s purse to keep tabs on her and threatened to blackmail her with “inappropriate photos” taken while she slept.
The suit, which seeks roughly $3.75 million in damages, also includes claims of trespass to chattel, malicious abuse of legal process, tortious interference with contract, intentional or malicious harm to another and defamation.
As of Thursday, Tabar’s bio had been removed from the firm’s website. In a statement provided to The Am Law Daily, a Schulte Roth spokeswoman said: “Mr. Tabar had been on leave and now no longer works for the firm.”
In her suit, Kovalesky says she and Tabar began dating shortly after meeting in December 2010 and that the alleged abuse started almost immediately. However, the first incident listed in the complaint—the alleged assault that included the knife threat—did not occur until February 6, 2013.
The suit also alleges that during an encounter later that month, Tabar “attacked” Kovalesky and damaged her $2,000 jacket. Kovalesky further claims the “severe stress” caused by Tabar’s alleged abuse eventually led to her PTSD diagnosis in March 2013. Roughly three months later, she obtained a temporary restraining order against Tabar in Kings County Family Court, with Tabar filing for, and obtaining, a similar order against her days later.
Kovalesky also claims Tabar pled guilty to a disorderly conduct charge in Kings County Criminal Court after she filed a police report when he “changed his address to her apartment and she began receiving [Tabar's] mail.”
Justin Sher, a former Davis Polk & Wardwell associate who is representing Tabar in the matter, relayed The Am Law Daily’s request for comment to Lonnie Soury, a public relations representative for Tabar. Soury provided The Am Law Daily with a statement on Tabar’s behalf that read, in part: “Mr. Tabar has never pleaded guilty to any criminal charges nor has he been convicted of any criminal conduct. Simply, any allegation of physical violence against Ms. Kovalesky or her property was either dismissed or never prosecuted. Ms. Kovalesky’s claim that a tracking device was placed in her pocketbook by Mr. Tabar is as delusional as it is dishonest.”
Beyond that, Soury said in the statement, Tabar maintains that Kovalesky actually harassed and threatened him as part of a “shocking and frightening campaign of retribution” after he ended their “brief relationship.” Tabar claims Kovalesky’s alleged “irrational obsession” with him has led her to harass him by “promis[ing] to ‘destroy’ him” if he did not leave his current girlfriend and to try to extort as much as $1 million from him.
James Ingoglia of Raiser & Kenniff, a former White & Case white-collar defense attorney, is representing Kovalesky in the suit. Contacted for comment, he provided The Am Law Daily with a statement on his client’s behalf that read, in part: “[Ms. Kovalesky] believes that Mr. Tabar instituted a campaign of harassment and physical, mental and emotional intimidation to retaliate against her. It would be a grave injustice if he is not held accountable for his actions, but we are confident that any attempt by Defendant to revise history and turn this around against the real victim will be refuted by overwhelming evidence in court.”
Tabar began his legal career with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 2001 and joined Schulte Roth in October 2013 after a stint in banking, first with Japan’s Sparx Group and most recently at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to a Bloomberg story published in November 2013. A graduate of Oxford University and Columbia Law School, Tabar focuses his practice on advising Asia-based hedge funds.
A review of New York bar records Thursday showed that Tabar’s license to practice law was suspended on Nov. 20, 2013. A representative of the Appellate Division, First Department’s committee on character and fitness told The Am Law Daily that the suspension was the result of a failure to pay the biennial registration fee required to maintain the license. Soury called the suspension “a misunderstanding” tied to Tabar’s absence from the legal profession while working as a banker. He added that Tabar is in the process of seeking a reversal of the suspension.