The legal battle between Kesha Rose Sebert and Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald has been going on for five years and shows no signs of slowing down.
In the latest development, a decision by a New York State judge rules that a claim that Kesha made in a text message exchange with Lady Gaga was defamatory. The claim came up in court last year that Kesha had texted Lady Gaga that Dr. Luke raped Katy Perry. Dr. Luke denied the claim, as did Perry in a sworn testimony. But Kesha’s attorneys argued at the time that their denials are not proof that a rape did not occur.
The judge ruled that Dr. Luke met the burden of proof for establishing that Kesha published a false statement via that text, per The Hollywood Reporter. “[Dr. Luke] submitted evidence that [he] did not rape Katy Perry,” the ruling reads. “Perry unequivocally testified that Gottwald did not do so. In response, Kesha has not raised a triable issue. There is no evidence whatsoever that Gottwald raped Katy Perry or that Katy Perry, whose sworn testimony is unrefuted, must not be believed. Kesha cannot defeat summary judgment with mere speculation.”
That is just one part of the larger defamation suit that Dr. Luke’s lawyers have brought against Kesha, however. Claims that are brought forth as a result of litigation are usually not subject to defamation claims, but the case hinges on whether or not, as Dr. Luke’s lawyers say, Kesha brought the suit against Dr. Luke as a “sham” intended to defame and pressure the plaintiff. That will be up to a jury to decide.
“Ordinarily, statements made during or in connection with good-faith anticipated litigation are privileged and cannot give rise to defamation liability,” the ruling reads. “Here, however, there are sharply disputed questions of fact going to the heart of the case about whether Kesha’s California complaint was brought in good faith, as Kesha asserts, or whether it was a ‘sham’ intended to defame and pressure plaintiffs, as plaintiffs assert.”
“Kesha and Gottwald have very different accounts about what happened on the night at issue,” the judge continues. “This court cannot decide, as a matter of law on papers and without any assessment of credibility, who should be believed and whether Kesha commenced the California Action, which she would not have done if she had been released from her contracts, in good faith or as a sham to defame Gottwald and obtain business leverage.”
The decision also orders that Kesha pay interest in the amount of $373,671.88 on the $1.3 million dollars in royalties that is owed by Kesha to Dr. Luke’s company KMI due to a breach of contract.
The full decision can be read here.