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Kesha drops Californian lawsuit against Dr Luke

By | Published on Tuesday 2 August 2016


Kesha’s long-running legal battle with producer Dr Luke is now focused on just one American state, with the singer voluntarily dismissing litigation in California.

As previously reported, Kesha Sebert accuses her long-time musical collaborator Lukasz Gottwald of plying her with drugs and alcohol and raping her as a teenager. He denies all of those allegations, and has sued both the singer and her mother for defamation, saying that the accusations were invented in a bid to force his hand in a contractual dispute.

Most attention to date has focused on the legal action being pursued in New York, though there was also litigation in Tennessee and California. The latter had been put on hold, pending hearings in New York, but as recently as May legal reps for Kesha indicated plans to request that side of the dispute be reactivated.

In New York, in the main Gottwald has prevailed in court, even though Kesha has generally won the PR battle. But the core allegations made by the singer have never actually been assessed in a courtroom, making the possibility of a reactivation of the Californian action interesting. But, it seems, the singer wants to focus on appealing past judgements in the New York courts, while also trying to get her music career back on track.

Attempts to get out of her deal with Sony Music, which owns Gottwald’s label, were unsuccessful in court, though both record company and producer have insisted that Kesha is welcome to work with another Sony imprint and production team on any new material. And, despite initially resisting that proposal, it seems that Kesha is now willing to work with people elsewhere in the Sony empire.

Her current lawyer Daniel M Petrocelli said yesterday: “Kesha has dismissed her California action without prejudice while she pursues her appeal and other legal claims in the New York courts. Kesha is focused on getting back to work and has delivered 28 new songs to the record label. We have conveyed to Sony Music and the label Kesha’s strong desire to release her next album and single as soon as possible”.

By dismissing the Californian case “without prejudice”, Kesha could in theory restart legal proceedings there in the future, but that seems unlikely. Meanwhile, Gottwald’s legal rep, Christine Lepera, said in a statement yesterday: “If Kesha is voluntarily dismissing her claims in the California case, it is because she has no chance of winning them”.

The lawyer went on: “Earlier this year, she lost her meritless counterclaims against Dr Luke in the New York action. Recently, the California court invited Dr Luke and the other defendants to move to dismiss Kesha’s claims in that action. Kesha never should have brought her false and meritless claims against Dr Luke in any court. Dr Luke’s defamation and other claims against Kesha are still proceeding”.