NY Judge Rejects Kesha’s Amended Lawsuit

Tuesday was another bad day in court for Kesha, as her amended lawsuit against producer and one-time mentor Dr. Luke was rejected by a judge that doesn’t seem to ever want to take her side.

It’s been just over a year since New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich first denied Kesha’s lawsuit against Dr. Luke, real name Lukasz Gottwald. Last winter, Judge Kornreich rejected Kesha’s request for an injunction against Dr. Luke and his label, Kemosabe, an imprint of Sony. The “Tik Tok” singer has accused Dr. Luke of sexually assaulting her and claims any work she might create while under his authority would not benefit from the full support of the label, if it were released at all. She sought the injunction to allow her to end her contract with Dr. Luke and Kemosabe and find either a new producer with Sony or to leave the label altogether.

Last February, Kornreich waved off Kesha’s concerns, saying she didn’t believe the allegations of assault by Dr. Luke against Kesha were enough to release her from her contract or were based in fact but were an attempt to free her from outstanding obligations.

“You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” she said at the time. She also said in the ruling that her “instinct is the do the commercially reasonable thing” and reaffirm Kesha’s contract with Dr. Luke, citing his reported $60 million investment in the singer and her career. Kornreich also noted that there was “no showing of irreparable harm” and that Kesha was “being given the opportunity to record” if she wanted.

In the meantime, Kesha amended her claims against Dr. Luke, initially classifying the actions against her as a hate crime and, when that failed, comparing her legal entanglement with the producer to a failed or abusive marriage.

“You can get a divorce from an abusive spouse…You can dissolve a partnership if the relationship becomes irreconcilable. The same opportunity—to be liberated from the physical, emotional and financial bondage of a destructive relationship—should be available to a recording artist,” her claim stated, according to Billboard.

Kesha further claimed Dr. Luke wanted to bankrupt her and refused to sign off on an album of new material; Dr. Luke and his team of attorneys alleged she owed him $1.3 million in royalties, among other grievances.

Once again, Kornreich sides with Dr. Luke.

“Here, Kesha made no showing that it would have been futile to send an appropriate notice or that she was prevented from doing so” as it pertains to royalties, Billboard notes, citing the judge’s ruling. “Thus, Kesha may not assert a counterclaim for breach” of law. Furthermore, Kornreich also rejected Kesha’s assertions that Dr. Luke breached their original contract, determining instead that Kesha did not perform according to the demands of her contract and didn’t give sufficient notice as outlined in her songwriting agreement. As a result, the singer “cannot maintain a breach of contract claim based on the implied covenant” in the documents.

There are more gory details about Kesha’s latest bad day in court here–read on.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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