Kesha and Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald’s respective legal teams have sent dueling letters to the court as the musicians head toward a potential trial in their long-running legal battle, as Rolling Stone reports and Pitchfork can confirm.
In a letter dated August 22, one of Kesha’s attorneys, Anton Metlitsky, asked the court for a November sitting to hear the singer’s two appeals in the case. “The trial absolutely cannot proceed unless the issues presented in these appeals are resolved,” Metlitsky wrote.
One of the appeals has to do with a recent decision in the case that New York’s updated anti-SLAPP laws no longer apply to the defamation lawsuit. Essentially, Dr. Luke was found to be a private figure, meaning there is a relatively lower bar to clear to prove that Kesha defamed the producer. Kesha’s team believes that Dr. Luke is a public figure and that his team would have to prove that the singer acted with “actual malice” in allegedly defaming him.
In an August 26 letter, Dr. Luke’s lawyer Christine Lepera opposed the Kesha team’s request, arguing that the court already said the appeal would “proceed in the normal course of briefing and argument,” and that her legal team has scheduling conflicts in November.
In an earlier letter, dated July 6, Lepera wrote that Dr. Luke “wish[es] to promptly proceed to trial in this matter,” and the trial is currently scheduled to commence on Monday, February 20, 2023.
In a subsequent letter, dated and filed August 30, another of Kesha’s attorneys, Leah Godesky, wrote to the judge, Jennifer G. Schecter, to reiterate her colleague’s request for an appeals hearing: “Contrary to Dr. Luke’s suggestion, there is no way a trial can proceed until the Court of Appeals resolves the appeals pending before it,” Godesky wrote. “That is why Kesha has been doing everything possible to ensure that the Court of Appeals hears argument and rules before the February 20, 2023 trial date.”
In addition, Godesky accused the producer of trying to avoid going to trial: “And while Dr. Luke contends in his letter that he is eager to try this case, he has been doing everything possible in the Court of Appeals to prevent that from happening,” the lawyer wrote.
Dr. Luke sued Kesha for defamation in 2014. Six years later, in 2020, Justice Schecter ruled that Kesha defamed Dr. Luke when she told Lady Gaga that the producer had raped Katy Perry. Perry denied the claim during a deposition.
Pitchfork has reached out to Leah Godesky, Anton Metlitsky, and Christine Lepera for comment and more information.