Kesha Must File Lawsuit Against Dr. Luke in New York

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 17, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Popstar Kesha just lost a minor battle in her legal war with music producer Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald.

Last October the two both filed lawsuits against each other. Kesha filed a lawsuit in California accusing the music producer of sexual assault. Dr. Luke filed a competing lawsuit in New York accusing the singer of extortion.

Kesha's Lawsuit

As evidenced by her claims in her 28-page complaint, Kesha and Dr. Luke had a tumultuous relationship.

The singer claims that Dr. Luke enticed her to drop out of high school to come work with him at age 18. Kesha alleges that Dr. Luke drugged and sexually assaulted her, belittled her appearance and causing her bulimia, and repeatedly threatening to take away her publishing rights. Reportedly, the sexual assault occurred back when Kesha was only 18. While she didn't report the incident to the police at the time, she did tell other people who could corroborate her accusations.

Kesha wants the court to void the contract between her and Dr. Luke because of the harassment and sexual violence alleged.

Dr. Luke's Lawsuit

Unsurprisingly, Dr. Luke denied Kesha's allegations. Instead, he filed a defamation lawsuit against the singer. In the complaint, he argues that Kesha and her mother are trying to extort Luke by making false and defamatory statements so that he would let the singer out of her contractual obligations.

Forum Choice

The two lawsuits are far from being resolved. However, Dr. Luke scored a small victory recently over forum choice. Forum is the place where the court will hear the suit.

Kesha filed her lawsuit in California. Dr. Luke filed his in New York. Dr. Luke argued that in the contract between the two, there is a forum selection clause that specifies all legal disputes should be handled in New York.

Sometimes, different states have differing laws on certain matters. Litigants will try to take advantage of those differences by filing a lawsuit in the state with the more favorable laws.

At a recent hearing, Los Angeles Superior Judge Barbara Scheper ruled that, while Kesha did not claim breach of contract in her complaint, the lawsuit is essentially a breach of contract suit. So, the lawsuit should be litigated in New York as stipulated in the contract.

This doesn't mean that Kesha's suit against Dr. Luke has died. She can still file the same suit again in New York, or attempt to prove that the forum selection clause should not apply.

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