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Law360: Kesha’s Ex-Producer May Be A ‘Public Figure,’ Court Signals

April 18, 2023

The New York Court of Appeals heard arguments yesterday in a long-running legal dispute between artist Kesha and music producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, who brought defamation claims against Kesha after she accused him of sexual assault. New York’s top court deliberated over whether Dr. Luke should be considered a “public figure,” which would subject him to proving that Kesha acted with “actual malice” when she disclosed details of the alleged abuse. “Someone like Dr. Luke could call up, seemingly, someone like Rolling Stone or Billboard and say, ‘I want to do an interview,’ and you know what, they’d show up,” said Judge Madeline Singas. Kesha’s attorney Anton Metlitsky argued that a 2020 amendment broadening New York’s anti-SLAPP statute was clearly intended to apply retroactively. “It seems, to me, bizarre to presume that the legislature would not want to provide a remedy for the very people that were the impetus for the statute in the first place,” Metlitsky said. Kesha is represented by Metlitsky, Leah Godesky, and Daniel M. Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

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