As Dr. Luke’s $50 million defamation case against Kesha moves closer to trial, a New York judge Thursday (Feb. 6) eviscerated Kesha’s remaining defenses. Judge Jennifer Schecter not only narrowed the focus of what could be argued at trial but ruled that Kesha defamed Dr. Luke when she falsely told Lady Gaga that the producer had raped Katy Perry.
Kesha was also ordered to pay Dr. Luke $373,671.88 in interest for breaching her agreement and failing to pay him $1.3 million royalties due in a timely manner.
Schecter’s ruling also lowered the threshold for Dr. Luke’s attorneys to meet in order to prove their defamation case by ruling that Dr. Luke was not a public figure. The court ruled that while Gottwald might be known in certain music circles that he “has never been a household name or achieved general pervasive fame,” nor had he “ever injected himself into the public debate about sexual assault or abuse of artist in the entertainment community.” Unlike private individuals, proving a defamation case against a public figure requires a showing that they were communicated with "actual malice” -- that is knowledge of reckless disregard of their falsity.