Kesha Secures Pre-Trial Victory in Dr. Luke Defamation Case

Dr. Luke will now be considered a "public figure," thus Kesha accusing him of rape will be harder to prove as legal defamation

Photo: Vince Haycock

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 14, 2023

Yesterday (June 13), New York's Court of Appeals awarded Kesha a crucial victory in her ongoing legal battle with Dr. Luke — the mega-producer (and recent ASCAP Songwriter of the Year) she accused of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in 2014.

As Billboard reports, the court ruled that Dr. Luke (née Lukasz Gottwald) will be legally considered a "public figure," meaning that he will need to prove that Kesha (born Kesha Rose Sebert) acted with "actual malice" when she made her allegations.

Gottwald has argued for years that the pop star legally defamed him when she made the "false and shocking" accusation that he drugged and raped her after a party in 2005, arguing that she was trying to use the claims against him to leverage a more lucrative record deal.

"By 2014, when Gottwald 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 court document reads. "He purposefully sought media attention for himself, his businesses and for the artists he represented, including Sebert, to advance those business interests."

Furthermore, the appeals court also ruled that New York's newly instated "anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation)" law — which they previously said would not apply retroactively until corrected by the State senator who helped pass the legislation — applies to Gottwald's lawsuit. Thus, if Kesha wins, she can recover attorney fees and damages.

The case is scheduled to head to trial on July 19 after nearly eight years of litigation. Back in 2021, there was a landmark development in the proceedings when Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter rejected Sony Music's bid for secrecy and ruled that the details of Kesha's contract with Dr. Luke would be publicly released.

Check out the entire ruling below.

Gottwald v. Sebert by Billboard

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