Dr. Luke’s Second Libel Lawsuit Against Kesha’s Mother

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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KeshaLukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald has filed a second libel lawsuit against Pebe Sebert, mother to the pop star, Kesha, alleging that Sebert has continuously defamed him during his ongoing legal battle with her daughter.

First Lawsuit

Gottwald’s first lawsuit against Sebert was filed in 2004 in New York and Tennessee, alleging defamation and tortious interference with her daughter’s contract. The New York lawsuit was dismissed because Kesha’s business matters take place in Tennessee. The first Tennessee suit is still pending.

In the first Tennessee suit, Sebert filed counterclaims against Gottwald, alleging intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, misrepresentation and fraudulent inducement based on an alleged promise that Gottwald said she would be involved in her daughter’s career. Sebert has since dismissed her claims against Gottwald, stating she, “decided to move on and find peace and forgiveness in her heart rather than dwelling in the cancerous past of an ongoing lawsuit with no end in sight.”

Second Lawsuit

The second lawsuit was filed September 7, 2016 in Tennessee. In the lawsuit, the music producer points to a March 10th Billboard interview with Sebert as evidence of her continued defamation. In the Billboard interview, Sebert stated that her daughter was Gottwald’s “prisoner” and accused Gottwald of sexually assaulting her daughter. The lawsuit also points to a November 2015 tweet stating, “Kesha can’t legally put out music unless she makes it under complete control of a man who raped her at 18.” 

Gottwald’s lawyer, Christina Lepera released a statement saying, “After we originally filed suit against Pebe Sebert, she continued to make outrageous, false, and defamatory statements against Dr. Luke in her widespread media campaign to damage him and smear his name… Pebe Sebert’s lawyers flat out refused to allow us to add those statements to the existing case or to toll the statute of limitations on them — so we’ve been compelled to file an additional action.”

Sebert’s attorney, Alex Little, made a statement about the second lawsuit, “This marks Dr. Luke’s second effort to sue a mother for publicly supporting and believing her daughter about being raped. It’s also a transparent attempt to delay the trial of these issues. Mrs. Sebert looks forward to presenting her case to a jury as soon as possible. When the evidence is made public, she expects the jury will conclude that all of her statements have been justified.”

Kesha’s Lawsuits

In 2014, Gottwald sued Kesha for breach of contract. Kesha countersued, adding claims that Gottwald abused her. Kesha also sued Gottwald in California, claiming that the producer raped and sexually, physically, emotionally, and verbally abused her. Kesha later dropped the California case and the New York claims of abuse, stating that she just wanted to release new music. 

Kesha wrote about her decision to drop her claims on her Facebook page, “My fight continues. I need to get my music out. I have so much to say. This lawsuit is so heavy on my once free spirit, and I can only pray to one day feel that happiness again. I am continuing to fight for my rights in New York. Thank you for all your support. The support of my fans has been so beautiful and I’m so grateful for it. I’m not sure where I would be without you all.”

Image Credit: By Kolombiyar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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