Mark Geragos, the former lawyer for Kesha, who acted for the pop star in her legal battle against the producer Dr Luke, is now on the receiving end of legal action from the producer’s lawyers.
A New York judge has blocked efforts by Geragos to have the defamation case filed by Dr Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) dismissed. The case revolves around comments the ‘celebrity lawyer’ made on Twitter and the website TMZ. Set against a myriad of cross allegations, primarily made against producer Dr Luke where the singer says the producer manipulated her career and sexually abused her, in an unsuccessful attempt to free herself from record and publishing contracts with Dr Luke’s label and Sony, Geragos being the wise lawyer that he is, tweeted “Guess who the rapist was?” with a link to an article with Lady Gaga, who explained in an interview that she had once been subject to a sexual assault. When subsequently asked on twitter if he meant Dr Luke, he tweeted “#bingo”. Later the lawyer told TMZ he said this “because it’s true”.
Geragos argued that neither his tweets nor the TMZ comments should be taken seriously and had sought to have the defamation action thrown out. It has been reported that his argument explained that “Posting the provocative comment ‘guess the rapist’ on Twitter clearly implies the poster’s intent to engage in a non-serious, gossipy and hyperbolic interaction. Additionally, the use of the term ‘bingo’ in and of itself suggests a lack of seriousness”.
Gergoas reportedly then brought a second and third argument. The second argument claimed that the statements were subject to legal privilege as it was connected to the pending court case between Kesha and Dr Luke. The third argument claimed that his law firm could not have “published” the comments as the firm’s website automatically picks up the tweets.
Nonetheless, New York Judge Robert R. Reed, who is in charge of overseeing the case, did not side with Geragos. The Judge explained that the claims of defamation “are minimally adequate to satisfy the pleading requirements for such claims.” It was therefore ruled that Dr Luke has a sufficiently strong case for the matter to be heard in court.
In 2016 Judge Shirley Kornreich ruled against Kesha’s motion to end her recording contract under Sony, in a resounding rejection of the pop star’s efforts to disentangle her business from her former producer. In her ruling, Kornreich held that Sony’s offer for Kesha to continue to record without Gottwald’s involvement – but still for Gottwald’s company, which Sony owns – would keep Kesha sufficiently insulated from the man she says is her abuser. Kornreich also ruled that, for many of Kesha’s claims, the statute of limitations had expired, and the judge criticised the singer for failing to spell out how her claims met the legal standards for several crimes, such as severe emotional abuse or hate crimes.
By Samuel O’Toole – Trainee Solicitor at Lawdit Music www.lawditmusic.co.uk