Kesha Enlists New Legal Firepower in Dr. Luke War

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The pop star hires THR “Power Lawyer” Daniel Petrocelli.

In her ongoing battle to extradite herself from a contract, Kesha Rose Sebert has added a legal heavyweight to her team. As the pop star prepares to take a judge’s denial of an injunction up on appeal, she’s tapped Daniel Petrocelli at O’Melveny & Myers to represent her.

Kesha is facing claims from songwriter-producer Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) of breaching contracts. In New York Supreme Court, Kesha has asserted counterclaims accusing Dr. Luke of drugging and raping her a decade ago and committing ongoing abuse that warrants an extraordinary contractual remedy. Despite her assertions, New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich refused in February a preliminary injunction that would allow her to record outside of Dr. Luke’s purview. Two weeks ago, an appeal was filed, and on Sunday, Kesha made news by writing on social media that she had rejected a settlement offer.

If Kesha is feeling confident, it could be because days earlier, Petrocelli officially joined Mark Geragos as her legal counsel. Perhaps best known for beating O.J. Simpson in a wrongful death civil case nearly two decades ago, Petrocelli is also a bit of a turnaround specialist, having entered cases in mid-stream on behalf of Disney and Warner Bros. in fights involving Winnie the Pooh and Superman, respectively, and pulling off huge comebacks. Petrocelli has been a fixture on THR’s “Power Lawyers” list of the top 100 attorneys in Hollywood.

Petrocelli’s latest engagement isn’t exactly his first foray into this war. When Dr. Luke originally sued Kesha, a tortious interference claim was also brought against Jack Rovner of Vector Management for allegedly cajoling Kesha into repudiating her recording agreements. Petrocelli represented Rovner, and in early February, was successful in convincing the judge to dismiss the claim against the manager.

Kesha’s next legal move isn’t yet clear. The case is headed to a New York State appeals court, but there’s still proceedings happening at the trial court. Also, Kesha’s own lawsuit against Dr. Luke is still pending in California, but has been stayed while the New York one plays out. Then again, there’s a status conference being held in California in May, and Kesha could have other legal options left to explore.

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