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Kesha’s legal fight against Dr. Luke suffers a serious blow

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In a strongly-worded ruling Wednesday, a New York judge dismantled pop star Kesha’s claims that her producer, Dr. Luke, had abused her, raped her and caused her emotional distress. But it wasn’t because the court was convinced those incidents didn’t happen.

“On a motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true the facts alleged in the complaint,” Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich said in her opinion Wednesday, after dismissing all but one of the singer’s claims against the hit-making producer.

Instead, it was a slew of technicalities that appears to have dealt a devastating blow to Kesha’s legal case. Even if the facts of her case were true, the judge noted, the alleged assaults took place in 2005 and 2008 — outside the legal time limit — and in California, where a New York court has no jurisdiction.

Kesha’s most recent legal defeat was met with outrage by the many fans, feminists and celebrity supporters who have championed her efforts — under the Twitter hashtag #FreeKesha — to escape a binding contract with Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke’s Sony-owned label.

The judge concluded that Kesha’s alleged rape did not count as a gender-related hate crime.

Kornreich maintained that Kesha’s legal team failed to provide evidence “that Gottwald harbored animus toward women or was motivated by gender animus when he allegedly behaved violently toward Kesha,” she wrote in her opinion. “Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.”

And the judge noted that Kesha’s claim that Dr. Luke intentionally inflicted emotional distress does not meet a strict legal standard for action, either, the judge said.

“Her claims of insults about her value as an artist, her looks, and her weight are insufficient to constitute extreme, outrageous conduct intolerable in civilized society,” Kornreich wrote.

Despite the ruling, Kesha’s case isn’t entirely over; Kornreich’s decision can be appealed, and one surviving counterclaim, regarding details of Kesha’s contract, will proceed in court. The singer could also revive her lawsuit against Dr. Luke in California, which has been on hold pending the outcome of the case in New York.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 7, 2016 5:40pm]


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