June 20, 2018 / 12:38 AM / 6 months ago

Ex-TCW fund manager ordered to turn over texts in harassment lawsuit

NEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters) - A New York State judge on Tuesday ordered a former TCW Group Inc fund manager to hand over text messages sent to her best friend about an alleged sexual encounter with her boss that led to the U.S. asset manager firing her.

Fund manager Sara Tirschwell filed a $30 million lawsuit earlier this year claiming that TCW terminated her in retaliation for complaining that her boss, TCW head of alternative products Jess Ravich, coerced her into having sex.

Attorneys for TCW and Ravich said on Tuesday that they believe a text message Tirschwell sent to her friend about having sex with Ravich in May 2016 was fabricated.

“It came out of nowhere,” said Robert Sacks, an attorney for Ravich, about the text message. Ravich, who had a prior relationship with Tirschwell, has denied in court documents having sex with her while she was at TCW.

TCW declined to comment on the matter.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Robert Kalish ordered Tirschwell to turn over an entire string of messages from the conversation for one month before and one month after she sent the text on the alleged encounter.

Attorneys for Ravich, TCW and Tirschwell have been ensnared in disputes about documents produced for a potential trial on the lawsuit, leading to the court conference on Tuesday.

Tirschwell has already turned over some messages, but Ravich and TCW’s attorneys said they do not believe she provided all of them, or context surrounding them.

“We are happy to provide these texts in the spirit of full transparency,” a spokesperson for Tirschwell said.

The distressed fund Tirschwell had managed at TCW has now been fully liquidated, said TCW spokesman Doug Morris.

TCW has said in court papers that it terminated Tirschwell for violating company compliance policies, and has denied it committed gender-based discrimination or harassment.

Tirschwell also had not raised required funding from investors for the fund and the firm had determined in November, before she complained about harassment, that it would not renew her contract, TCW has said in court documents. Dozens of men have been fired or resigned from jobs in politics, media, entertainment and business over the past several months after facing accusations of sexual misconduct , including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and broadcaster Charlie Rose. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli)

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