Kesha's Latest Lawsuit Against Dr. Luke Rejected - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music News

Kesha’s Latest Lawsuit Against Dr. Luke Rejected

Judge blocks pop star’s amended claims arguing breach of contract, unpaid royalties


A New York judge rejected Kesha's amended lawsuit against producer Dr. Luke.

James Devaney/Getty

A New York judge rejected Kesha’s attempt to amend her lawsuit against Dr. Luke, Billboard reports. The ruling is another blow to the embattled pop star, who has been trying to get out of her contract with Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald) and Sony after claiming the producer sexually assaulted and abused her. The singer leveled these accusations against Dr. Luke in October 2014 after the producer sued her that same month for defamation and breach of contract.

In January, Kesha’s legal team attempted to amend their lawsuit against Dr. Luke after New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich rejected two previous suits. Most notably, Kornreich denied Kesha’s request for an injunction in February 2016 that would have allowed her to sign with a new record label. And in April 2016, Kornreich dismissed another set of claims and ruled that Kesha could not allege that Dr. Luke carried out a hate crime against her. At the time, Judge Kornreich did not not dismiss the claims pertaining to whether Kesha’s contracts with Dr. Luke were null.

In their most recent amended lawsuit, Kesha’s team attempted to prove breach of contract in several ways. First, they claimed Dr. Luke’s companies, Prescription and KMI, broke their contracts with the singer when they failed to report and pay royalties. The amended suit also argued that Dr. Luke broke the “good faith” assumption in all contracts through his years of alleged abuse and his alleged failure to help Kesha release her third album.

Judge Kornreich shut down the unpaid royalties argument, however, noting that a witness for Dr. Luke had provided an accounting statement that showed Kesha actually owed the producer $1.3 million in royalties. Furthermore, Kesha did not provide any evidence to counter that accounting statement. Kornreich also found that Kesha failed to give notice of the allegedly unsent accounting statements and royalty payments within the proper time frame. She also ruled that Kesha was not, as she claimed, performing under her current contract with Dr. Luke and therefore “cannot maintain a breach of contract claim based on the implied covenant [of good faith].”

Judge Kornreich also denied Kesha’s request that the court terminate her contracts with Dr. Luke after the release of her third album. The amended suit argued it would be impractical or impossible for the singer to keep working with the producer due to his alleged abuse and good faith violations. But Judge Kornreich ruled that Kesha could not claim his allegedly abusive behavior was unforeseeable because “Kesha has admitted that Gottwald’s alleged abuse began at the outset of their relationship in 2005.”

Kesha’s team also tried to argue that because Dr. Luke’s contract with Sony “purportedly ends in March 2017,” Kesha would need court supervision or Sony’s assistance to keep fulfilling her current contract. Judge Kornreich disagreed, ruling this claim about Dr. Luke’s agreement with Sony was “speculative.” She also struck down Kesha’s attempt to invoke California’s “seven-year” rule – which states that a court can’t enforce a personal service contract after seven calendar years from when the deal began – because her contracts were subject to New York law. 

In This Article: Dr. Luke, Kesha


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.