Kesha has won a major victory against Dr. Luke in their long-running legal battle, per The Hollywood Reporter. A New York judge has ruled that in order to win the appeal on his defamation lawsuit against the singer, Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald) must prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that Kesha acted with malice. Kesha will also be allowed to seek damages and legal-fee repayment.
Kesha’s legal team cited recent anti-SLAPP laws that seek to protect people using their First Amendment rights from frivolous lawsuits. A previous ruling found that Dr. Luke — despite having an alias, verified social-media accounts, and more Getty images than there are leaves on a tree — is a private figure. Therefore his defamation lawsuit requires a lower burden of proof than if he was a public figure. This new ruling finds that the higher burden of proof applies to Gottwald because Kesha spoke “with respect to issues of public concern,” per THR.
Dr. Luke’s attorney issued a statement downplaying the ruling, saying in part, “Today’s court hearing was only about a technical legal issue: the burden of proof at trial. Dr. Luke would have filed this case regardless of the burden of proof.” The case in question is over 2016 text messages to Lady Gaga in which Kesha claimed Dr. Luke had raped Katy Perry. Dr. Luke claimed the text was defamatory and won a summary judgment in 2020. The appeal trial could take place later this year.