On April 15, 2022, NWLC, alongside Equal Rights Advocates, joined an amicus brief submitted by Legal Momentum to the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division (the state’s second-highest court) in Gottwald v. Sebert in support of singer-songwriter Kesha, who was sued in 2014 for defamation by Dr. Luke, her former producer who sexually abused her in 2005 when she was 18 years old. In November 2020, New York extended its protections against defamation liability to include survivors who speak out about sexual abuse. However, a lower court in New York held that the new law does not protect Kesha because Dr. Luke sued her for defamation before the law was passed—even though she continues to battle the defamation lawsuit today, well after the law’s passage. The amicus brief explains that sexual abusers are increasingly using defamation lawsuits as a retaliatory weapon against their victims, and that the New York law explicitly includes people who face “continued” retaliatory lawsuits—like Kesha—within its protections. Indeed, amici highlight that a number of state and federal courts in New York have already agreed that the new law applies at least to pending cases that are continued after the law’s passage.
NWLC led another amicus brief in support of Kesha on a separate legal issue – learn more here.