Kesha Ordered to Pay $373,000 in Ongoing Defamation Case With Dr. Luke
By Zach Seemayer
In the on-going legal battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke, the "Warrior" singer suffered a setback on Thursday when the court dealt out a major legal victory to the music producer.
Kesha was ordered to pay more than $373,000 as part of a ruling against her in Dr. Luke's defamation lawsuit, according to court documents obtained by ET.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter ruled that Kesha defamed Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, when the singer sent a text message to Lady Gaga in 2016 claiming that the producer had raped Katy Perry.
"There is no evidence whatsoever that [Dr. Luke] raped Katy Perry. Moreover, publication of a false statement to even one person, here Lady Gaga, is sufficient to impose liability," Judge Schecter ruled.
The judge also rejected several defenses presented by Kesha's legal team, including the argument that Dr. Luke is a "public figure" and therefore there is a higher legal standard when it comes to determining defamation, and that would have required Dr. Luke's team to prove Kesha acted with "malice" when sending the text in question.
According to the documents, the judge deemed that Dr. Luke "certainly is not a 'general public figure'" outside of the music industry, and that he "has never been a household name or achieved general pervasive fame and notoriety in the community."
Therefore, the "actual malice standard is inapplicable," the judge decided.
As for the sizeable monetary judgement, the $373,671.88 is what Kesha was deemed to owe Dr. Luke's company, record company KMI, on the $1.3 million in late payments on royalty earnings that she had withheld from KMI, thus breaching the terms of their contract.
Dr. Luke’s legal team released a statement to ET following the ruling.
"Dr. Luke is pursuing this lawsuit to seek recovery for the serious harm Kesha's false accusations of rape have caused Dr. Luke, his family and his business," the statement read. "Today's important decision by the Court in Dr. Luke's lawsuit brings him closer to the justice that he seeks."
"First, the Court has now ruled that Kesha made a false and defamatory accusation about Dr. Luke when she baselessly claimed that he raped Katy Perry. Second, the Court rejected Kesha's attempts to invoke legal technicalities to avoid responsibility for her statements. And third, the Court also correctly held that Kesha breached her contract with Dr. Luke's company," the statement continued. "Dr. Luke looks forward to the trial of his case where he will prove that Kesha's other false statements about him were equally false and defamatory."
Kesha's legal team said in a statement to ET, "Judge Schecter issued rulings today on motions for summary judgment in the Dr. Luke litigation. We disagree with the Court's rulings. We plan to immediately appeal."
This is the latest development in a series of courtroom battles that have been raging for nearly six years. This is also not the final ruling on the case. The defamation suit will now move to trial, where a jury will be tasked with determining if Kesha's allegations that she was drugged and raped by the producer were made "in good faith," in her original complaint, or if they were made in an effort to obtain business leverage over Dr. Luke through defaming him.
ET has reached out to reps for Kesha for additional comment.
For more on the ongoing legal drama, see the video below.