The defamation case that Dr. Luke brought against Kesha after she accused him of sexual abuse in 2014 is scheduled to head to trial next month after a years-long back-and-forth in court. Today, as Billboard reports, New York’s Court Of Appeals ruled that Dr. Luke will be considered a “public figure,” reversing a ruling previously made by a lower court in 2021 that said the producer was a private figure because he was a not a household name. This means that Dr. Luke’s lawyers will have to prove that Kesha acted with “actual malice” when she made her public statements.
“By 2014, when Gottwald initiated this defamation action, he was, by his own account, a celebrity — an acclaimed music producer who had achieved enormous success in a high-profile career,” the appeals court wrote. “He purposefully sought media attention for himself, his businesses, and for the artists he represented, including Sebert, to advance those business interests.”
The court also ruled that the case would fall under New York’s recently enacted “anti-SLAPP” law, meaning that if found not guilty, she would have recourse to ask the courts to pay some of the legal bills for the case. Previously, the court said that the law would not apply retroactively, an assertion the State senator who helped pass the legislation argued was incorrect.
The trial is set to start on July 19.