12:05pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Judge Refuses Katy Perry's Bid to Seal Deposition in Dr. Luke Legal Battle
The New York judge overseeing the defamation lawsuit brought by Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald against Kesha Sebert has denied a motion from Katy Perry to keep the full transcript of the deposition she gave from being made public.
"Significantly, the testimony is relevant to several important factual and legal issues (such as causation of damages)," wrote New York Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter in a short order on Thursday. "Thus, there is a legitimate public interest in access."
The litigation is now at the summary judgment phase, where Dr. Luke and Kesha are squaring off on her allegations of rape. He claims being smeared via an alleged effort on her part to cause a renegotiation of a record contract. Most of the documents are under seal, but those should become public very soon after a series of decisions today about what would remain confidential.
A small portion of Perry's deposition went public in late August. Perry (real name: Katheryn Hudson) denied being assaulted by Dr. Luke, but most of what she had to say had been redacted.
"Because of her high-profile status as an artist, advocate and role model, Ms. Hudson is vulnerable to 'gossip column' frenzy aimed at exaggerating salacious matters having little to nothing to do with the merits — whatever they may be — of the substantive, material issues in this case," stated Perry's memorandum in support of a sealing. "Given her tangential involvement in this lawsuit and its remoteness to the merits, her confidentiality and privacy interests should and can be respected without any prejudice to the public interest. Indeed, it is in the public interest to safeguard a non-party's confidentiality and privacy rights under these circumstances and to facilitate the cooperation of witnesses in furnishing discovery."
Schecter isn't convinced this is sufficient cause to deny public access.
Her order continued, "Additionally, because other artists' testimony on the very same material issue is not subject to sealing, if this testimony alone were sealed the public record would be incomplete."
Other requests for sealing such as Kesha's bid to keep medical information private were granted, although Sony's demand to keep financial information outside of public view scored a caveat from the judge.
Schecter noted that there was no opposition from Dr. Luke or Kesha to Sony's request to keep private business and strategic information. But the judge added, "However, as damages will be a major topic if this case goes to trial, it appears doubtful that this information could remain sealed at that time. Sony, of course, will have the opportunity to convince the Court otherwise."