Kesha can use NY law to bolster legal battle with Dr. Luke

A decide granted a request by the singer Kesha to use a recently strengthened free speech law in New York to bolster her case in an 8-year legal battle with music producer Dr. Luke.

The music making mogul sued the pop star in 2014 for defamation over her claims that he drugged and raped her and for telling Lady Gaga he additionally raped Katy Perry, a claim Perry denied.

In April, the “Tik Tok” singer asked a judge to allow her to apply a November law — which was handed to curb fits introduced by the wealthy and highly effective who search to intimidate and stifle free speech — as she defends herself within the case, which is slated for trial in October.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter agreed that the law — which might make Dr. Luke pay Kesha’s legal charges if his claims are tossed — might apply retroactively within the go well with and granted Kesha’s request to file counterclaims in opposition to him.

The decide famous that any counterclaims might solely be addressed after a jury determines whether or not Dr. Luke or Kesha’s allegations are credible — because the challenge can be moot if she loses.

“Everyone knows that it is a he-said-she-said situation,” Schecter mentioned throughout oral arguments which occurred by video on Wednesday.

Dr. Luke
Dr. Luke sued Kesha in 2014 for defamation over her claims that he drugged and raped her.
Paul A. Hebert/Getty Images

Earlier within the arguments, Dr. Luke’s lawyer Christine Lepera argued that because the law didn’t explicitly say it was meant to be utilized retroactively, it due to this fact couldn’t be utilized on this long-standing case. Lepera additionally argued that it might unfairly “increase [Dr. Luke’s] burden” of proving he was defamed by Kesha — successfully altering the foundations of the sport when the case is already to this point alongside.

Kesha’s lawyer Leah Godesky countered that lawmakers modified the law to assist individuals in comparable conditions to Kesha permitting them to search compensation after they’re compelled to dole out money and time combating defamation instances for talking out about sexual abuse.

“This is exactly the type of case that [the legislature] had in mind when they decided to immediately correct this statute,” Godesky mentioned. “Even if Kesha were to prevail at trial and the jury found that she was telling the truth about her sexual assault — she wouldn’t really win.”

Kesha on a red carpet.
Kesha dropped her sexual abuse case in opposition to Dr. Luke in California in 2016.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

“She would have lost ten years of her life to this litigation with absolutely no consequence to Dr. Luke whose net worth means that paying legal bills is really no obstacle to continuing this case,” Godesky continued.

“The effect on [Kesha] in a case like this cannot be overstated,” Godesky mentioned. “When you were sued for money you don’t have because you reported a sexual assault, it is an all-consuming source of stress, anxiety, depression, financial stress and even physical pain.”

“This law is intended to fix and cure a problem because we currently have survivors of sexual abuse who are being dragged through the legislative system — the judiciary —through retaliatory litigation,” the lawyer continued. “That’s what they wanted to fix … and so this needs to apply retroactively.”

Kesha performs onstage at MusiCares Person of the Yea.r
In February 2020, the decide discovered that Kesha had defamed Dr. Luke in her allegations and is now permitting her to retroactively apply the free speech law.
Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Kesha — whose full identify is Kesha Rose Sebert — initially sued Dr. Luke — whose actual identify is Lukasz Gottwald — in California for allegedly sexually and emotionally abusing her.

She dropped that case in 2016 selecting to proceed the legal battle in a New York court docket after Dr. Luke filed his case there.

In February 2020, Schecter discovered that Kesha had defamed Dr. Luke in her allegations involving Katy Perry. At the identical time Schecter tossed Kesha’s remaining counterclaim that she needs to be launched from a contract with his report firm KMI, which nonetheless collects royalties from her music.

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