×

Kesha Loses Another Round in Legal Battle With Dr. Luke

Since going public with abuse claims against her producer in 2014, Kesha has gotten substantial support in the court of public opinion. She has not fared so well in actual court.

Again on Tuesday, a New York judge turned down Kesha’s attempt to break her contract with Dr. Luke, rejecting a motion to file an amended complaint. The ruling from Judge Shirley Kornreich reiterates many of the points from the same judge’s earlier ruling, in April 2016, in which the singer’s claims against the producer were dismissed.

Dr. Luke, the stage name for Lukasz Gottwald, filed an initial complaint against Kesha in 2014 for failing to work on a third album as required under her contract. Kesha filed a countersuit, seeking to be released from the contract on the basis of allegations that Dr. Luke had raped her and verbally abused her over the course of several years.

In February 2016, Kornreich denied Kesha’s request for an injunction that would have allowed her to record an album outside of her contract. In her April 2016 ruling dismissing the countersuit, Kornreich noted that the two specific instances of sexual abuse alleged in the counterclaim each occurred before Kesha signed her contract with Dr. Luke. After the success of her first two albums, the judge noted that Kesha sought increased royalties, but Dr. Luke rejected the request.

Following the string of courthouse defeats, Kesha began working on the third album last fall. Her lawyers contend that Dr. Luke continues to interfere and delay the album’s release, which Dr. Luke denies. In January, Kesha’s attorneys sought to amend her original counterclaim, again seeking to release her from the contract.

“Dr. Luke has aggressively sought to financially destroy Kesha by keeping her under his control while simultaneously waging a nuclear litigation campaign against her,” her attorneys claimed. “It is a vendetta against Kesha… She is not demanding more money. Kesha asks for something far more basic: the freedom to make music without being bound indefinitely to the very producer who subjected her to years of abuse and continues that abuse to this day.”

Dr. Luke’s attorneys countered that she was attempting to litigate the dispute in the media.

“It was obviously designed to garner sympathetic headlines for Defendant, and further tarnish Plaintiffs, based upon false assertions and blatant mischaracterizations,” they wrote.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Kornreich ruled that Kesha could not advance claims for breach of the agreement because she herself had failed to perform her obligations. The judge took note that Dr. Luke’s accountants have calculated that she owes him $1.3 million in royalties, and has not paid him since 2012.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Woodstock Festival of Arts and Music

    As Woodstock Turns 50, the Fest's 10 Most Sacred Music Moments (Watch)

    Cars were left abandoned along the New York Interstate. Electrical and speaker systems fuzzed and popped. Amps blew then went silent. The rain was endless as the mud sank deep and rank. Young children ran naked and dazed through crowds of strangers. Food was scarce. Water, unclean. Looking back, Woodstock seems a more apocalyptic, than [...]

  • 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band

    Film Review: 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas'

    Settling in to watch “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” you may have a burning question that applies to almost no other rock documentary, and that is: Who, exactly, are these guys? The ones behind the beards? If you’re old enough, of course, you probably know that ZZ Top started out, in 1969, [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Jay-Z to Acquire Ownership Stake in NFL Team (Report)

    Jay-Z will soon acquire a “significant ownership interest” in an NFL team, TMZ reported on Friday. The team was not disclosed, but a source told the site the deal will happen in the “near future,” adding that the billionaire rapper “wants to continue to be a change agent for the NFL.” Jay-Z’s company, Roc Nation, [...]

  • Blake Shelton, Trace AdkinsCMA Music Festival

    Blake Shelton Takes a Shot at 'Old Town Road' in New Single

    Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins have just released a duet, “Hell Right,” that seems to have a beef with “Old Town Road.” But is it a light-hearted, maybe even affectionate slam — or should anyone read culture-war significance into the two country stars expressing a preference for Hank Williams Jr. over Lil Nas X, the breakout [...]

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Teddy Riley Walk of Fame

    From Blackstreet to Hollywood Blvd. as Teddy Riley Receives a Star on the Walk of Fame

    Many musical artists are responsible for hits, whether recording and writing for themselves or producing smashes for others. Teddy Riley’s got the success, having fashioned platinum-plated R&B works for, and with, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Keith Sweat, Doug E. Fresh and more since the mid-’80s, not to mention the music of his own slick soul [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content