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Kesha Replaces Lead Lawyer in Dr. Luke Lawsuit

Billboard logo Billboard 4/05/2016 Colin Stutz

Kesha leaves the New York State Supreme Court on Feb. 19, 2016 in New York City. Sony has refused to voluntarily release the pop star from her contract which requires her to make three more albums with producer Dr. Luke, a man she claims sexually assaulted her. © Raymond Hall/GC Images Kesha leaves the New York State Supreme Court on Feb. 19, 2016 in New York City. Sony has refused to voluntarily release the pop star from her contract which requires her to make three more albums with producer Dr. Luke, a man she claims sexually assaulted her. Kesha has replaced the lead counsel in her lawsuits against Dr. Luke. According to New York Supreme Court documents filed Monday, the firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP will substitute as counsel for the pop star, replacing Mark Geragos in the role.

Geragos, who has previously represented Michael Jackson and Chris Brown, has made some controversial and questionable moves since the beginning of this suit. In 2014, he implied on Twitter that Dr. Luke had raped Lady Gaga -- a claim Gaga denied outright and that Dr. Like sued Geragos over for defamation.

In February, a judge denied Kesha's request to record legally for labels other than Dr. Luke's Sony imprint Kemosabe Records. She has since appealed that ruling. 

Meanwhile, Kesha's California lawsuit accusing Dr. Luke of rape and other abuse has been stayed, pending the outcome of a New York lawsuit by Dr. Luke accusing Kesha of defamation. Recently, a New York judge dismissed Kesha's countersuit against Dr. Luke that alleged emotional distress, employment discrimination and gender-based hate crimes. 

Status conferences with judges in the cases are scheduled for May 11 in New York and May 16 in California. 

It is unclear whether Geragos will stay on Kesha's legal team in any lessened capacity. Billboard has reached out to Geragos for comment but did not hear back at press time.

Kesha follows her mother, Pebe Sebert, in diminishing Geragos' role. Last month, Sebert split with Geragos before dropping her counterclaims of intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress against Dr. Luke. Nashville-based attorneys Alex Little, Susan Neal Dickerson and Mandy Strickland Floyd of Bone McAllester Norton PLLC now represent Sebert.

Separately, Sebert's legal team filed an emergency motion for protective order on Sunday over the deposition of her internal medicine physician Dr. Jahangir Rahman that had been scheduled for Wednesday.

In the motion, Sebert's attorney Little argued that any statements his client made to her physician or her own medical condition should be unrelated to Dr. Luke's case alleging defamation and interference of contract. Rather, he argues that the request to depose Dr. Rahman "appears directed at embarrassing and oppressing Mrs. Sebert rather than discovering information relevant to the case."

Dr. Luke's legal team responded to the motion on Monday, requesting a conference on the defense's emergency motion. Dr. Luke's attorney Timothy L. Warnock of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP argued a number of reasons why Dr. Rahman's deposition should be permitted, namely that its relevance to Sebert's statements in her now-dropped counterclaims of having experienced emotional and physical trauma as a result of the alleged abuses against her daughter.

"Plaintiff is entitled to test these assertions through depositions of Dr. Rahman and certain other of her medical providers," Warnock stated in his motion for a court conference. "Clearly, proof obtained from Defendant's medical providers that refutes Defendant's assertion of mental and physical injuries as a result of witnessing purported 'abuse' by Plaintiffs would constitute evidence that: (a) the alleged 'abuse' itself did not happen; and (b) Defendant published her defamatory statements about Plaintiffs with a malicious intent. Defendant also is able to preserve all evidentiary objections to any testimony that she can demonstrate does not belong in this case."

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