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Kesha gag order press shot 2023

Kesha scores pre-trial win in the Dr. Luke defamation case

14 June 2023, 15:55 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

In 2014, Kesha accused Dr. Luke of sexual assault. What resulted was a defamation case which is scheduled to head to trial next month after years of going back-and-forth in court.

One month before the trial is scheduled to go to court, New York’s Court Of Appeals has ruled that Dr. Luke will be considered a “public figure"; reversing a ruling previously made by a lower court in 2021 that said the producer was a private figure because he was a not a household name. This now means that Dr. Luke’s lawyers will have to prove that Kesha acted with “actual malice” when she made her public statements.

“By 2014, when Gottwald [Dr. Luke] initiated this defamation action, he was, by his own account, a celebrity – an acclaimed music producer who had achieved enormous success in a high-profile career,” the appeals court wrote. “He purposefully sought media attention for himself, his businesses, and for the artists he represented, including Sebert, to advance those business interests.”

The ruling also found that Kesha should have been allowed by a state judge to file counterclaims against Luke for emotional distress and punitive damages.

Kesha filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke – her producer and label owner – in 2014, accusing him of an extended period of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and attempting to extricate herself from her contract. Luke countersued that same year, denying all her allegations and claiming that the she had defamed him.

The trial is set to go to court on 19 July.

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