What's Next In Kesha's Case Against Dr. Luke?

Kesha
Gardiner Anderson/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Kesha is seen in New York City on Feb. 16, 2015. 

The gears of justice turn slowly.

Kesha was dealt a harsh blow on Friday when New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich denied a request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the “Tik Tok” singer to record outside of her contract with one-time mentor/producer, Dr. Luke.

Kesha (born Kesha Rose Sebert), burst into tears as Kornreich issued the first ruling in what could be a drawn-out and painful legal drama for the star, who has brought a civil suit against Dr. Luke (born Lukasz Gottwald), accusing the producer of “sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally” abusing her for years after signing with him at age 18. Luke has denied all charges.

It could be a long, hard road to any conclusion in the case, with no guarantee of clarity anytime soon -- meaning fans will likely not hear a follow-up to 2012’s Warrior for at least another year, and very possibly longer.

Following Friday’s decision, the gears of the court will grind slowly as each side presents their evidence in the legal dispute. Though Kesha's lawyer said his client is "amenable" to working with Sony Music -- as long as Luke is not involved -- the singer may be forced to sit on the sidelines for what amounts to a pop eternity as she awaits a conclusion.

The next steps in the case will see each side turn in their demands for discovery of evidence in the suit by March 21, with any objections to those requests due a month later. According to the court’s schedule, that’s just an initial step toward Kesha getting her day in court; the window for the discovery period doesn't end until Jan. 6, 2017.

Any reports submitted by experts that Kesha or Luke’s legal teams plan to call need to be shared by Jan. 23 of next year, with rebuttals to those expert witnesses due two weeks later. If all goes according to plan and neither side asks for more time or a delay, the best case scenario has them filing a notice that they are ready for trial on Feb. 28, 2017. Only then will the judge  pick a trial date, which could be several months later.

At that point, more than 1,500 days will have elapsed since Kesha last released a new album, a virtual lifetime for any pop artist, but especially one whose second effort failed to reach the heights of her 2010 debut, Animal. Though she retains a hardcore group of loyal fans who’ve come out in force to see her on sporadic tour dates over the past year, the longer Kesha’s voice is silenced the harder it might be for her to climb back onto the charts. 

There is, of course, a possibility that the two sides will agree to settle the suit before trial given the damage to both Kesha’s career and Luke’s reputation. In the meantime, they will prepare for a far-off trial date that could have a huge impact on both their futures.

A vocal group of fans and supporters including actress and comedian Margaret Cho, Fiona Apple, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Lorde, among others, came to her defense over the weekend, with calls to join the #FreeKesha campaign and boycott the singer’s Sony Records label. Taylor Swift stepped up on Sunday with a $250,000 donation to help “with any of her financial needs during this trying time.”

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