Legal Drama

Tik Tok: NY Court Rules Kesha’s Rape Case Goes Before Dr. Luke’s Defamation Case.

DrLukeKeshaRapeDefamationLawsuitIf you are the attorney representing Dr. Luke, this case has got to be a nightmare. If you are Dr. Luke, you better find that money and make sure you hired THE BEST attorney to defend you. This ain’t gonna be pretty and the faster you get out of court, the better for you. This is an all out war.

Also, what is particularly important from the defense perspective is that once you have been accused of rape, even if you did not do it, the damage to your reputation is simply terrible. See David Beckham sister’s ex ‘lost everything’ after he was branded a rapist.

What’s the latest scoop on this very nasty fight which I shared with you all last year? Let’s take a quick look at what we lawyers/the legal industry call “procedural history,” which simply means what are the “legal logistics”, if you will, that has happened in the case so far.

1. Kesha, the artist, filed a civil lawsuit in California against Dr. Luke, her producer, alleging rape. She also alleged that he manipulated her, forced her to do drugs and also effectively denied her any meaningful profits from their record deal that she signed with his production company, among other claims.

2. Dr. Luke  immediately filed a lawsuit in New York against Kesha, and her mom. He alleged defamation (meaning Kesha what you claim is a lie.) He also filed a breach of contract claim saying, “look, you and I know all you are trying to do is get out of your record contract with me, but it ain’t going to work.”

3. Dr. Luke also filed a parallel lawsuit in Tennessee.

The legal issue, from a procedural standpoint, became which lawsuit should be heard first. 

If you are a non-lawyer reading this, you might be wondering, “what’s the issue? New York, California and Tennessee should hear their respective cases when they hear it.”

That is the position Dr. Luke is taking. He also argues that if the New York claim is stayed i.e. made to wait until the claim in California goes first, it is the judge basically rewriting the contract terms that he and Kesha already decided on.

4. What do you suppose Kesha’s position was or is? She of course wants her California case to go first. The court in New York agreed with her position. The court recently ruled saying, in English for all my non-lawyers, look:

a) Both of your claims are very similar and if I move forward with this case here, the ultimate decision/verdict could affect the outcome of what happens in California and/or Tennessee. This can then create inconsistencies and overlaps which will be bad for all;

b) Also, the reality is both you Dr. Luke and Kesha are residents of California; and finally,

c) Kesha’s claims alleging sexual abuse/rape occurred in California, so therefore, we are going to wait here in New York while you both go and sort it out in California.

From a pragmatic standpoint, I think the judge/court would rather not be bothered with the messiness of this case. Let the California courts take a first stab at it.

If you are Kesha and Kesha’s lawyer this is a good thing. If you are Dr. Luke, of course you are unhappy and will/ should appeal the NY court’s ruling.  If you lose on that appeal, I think you settle. This case just doesn’t look or sound right, in my view. The key thing would be from a settlement standpoint, to find a way to clear your client’s name i.e. the whole allegation of rape; and build good will.

By the way, we are in civil court but it does not prevent criminal proceedings against Dr. Luke for rape, if the DA believes there is enough evidence to bring charges against him. All around messy case.

Get more details about the court’s latest ruling here.

-Ms. Uduak
Photocredit: Maria Anuzoni/Reuters

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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