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Kesha’s lawyers seek to re-open Californian case against Dr Luke

By | Published on Tuesday 17 May 2016


The long-running legal dispute between Kesha and producer Dr Luke has been a complicated affair because it has involved multiple lawsuits and countersuits in three separate states, though most attention to date has been on the New York-based actions. But legal reps for the singer have now confirmed hopes to re-activate 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.

Multiple elements of Sebert’s lawsuit in New York have now been dismissed, while efforts by the singer to secure an injunction allowing her to record with a label other that Gottwald’s Sony imprint Kemosabe failed. Though, while Gottwald has had more success in legal terms, Sebert has generally enjoyed much more public support, putting pressure on the producer and his major label business partner.

Sebert said she needed the label-switch injunction because the legal battle with Gottwald had put her career on hold, because she couldn’t release any new material. Though she did then appear on a new version of Zedd’s ‘True Colors’, put out with Gottwald’s blessing. And then Sebert announced that she was no longer represented by her often contentious lawyer Mark Geragos, perhaps suggesting that some sort of settlement might now be in the pipeline.

But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Sebert’s new legal reps have announced plans to request the Californian lawsuit against Gottwald – which has been on ice pending the New York cases – be reopened. The legal rep said: “We intend to file a motion to lift the stay and to file an amended complaint in this action”.

This seemingly surprised both the judge overseeing the Californian case and Gottwald’s legal team, who met with Sebert’s reps for a routine status conference yesterday. Judge Barbara M Scheper said she’d actually been planning to invite a motion to dismiss the Californian case entirely given recent developments in the New York courts, and the fact Sebert’s contract with Gottwald requires disputes to be heard under New York State law.

The judge then said she was a bit disappointed Sebert’s reps hadn’t provided advance notice – to her and Gottwald’s team – of their intent to submit an amended complaint, before adding: “If you just present the same arguments to me, that’s not going to be well taken”.

While much of Sebert’s case in New York has been dismissed already, that’s mainly been on technicalities, and the core allegations of the singer’s case, and Gottwald’s countersuit, have not really been assessed to date. It will be interesting to see the arguments Sebert’s team now present in their bid to get the Californian case re-opened, and if they succeed, whether those core allegations will ever be presented in a courtroom.