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Sony has another go at keeping Dr Luke investigation details secret

By | Published on Friday 13 July 2018


Sony Music has requested that a court reverse its decision to force the major to tell legal reps working for Kesha who its lawyers interviewed as part of an internal investigation into allegations made against producer Dr Luke. The major said the recent court ruling in the long running legal dispute between Kesha and her former collaborator Luke “overlooked or misapprehended” matters of fact.

Kesha and Luke have, of course, been involved in a long-running multi-layered legal battle in which she accused him of rape and he accused her of lying about his conduct in a bid to get out of contractual commitments to his companies. That dispute is now primarily focused on Luke’s defamation lawsuit against Kesha.

Sony was pulled into all this through its business partnership with Luke, via which it had signed Kesha. She asked the major to release her from her obligations to the record company, or at least put them hold, once she and him were embroiled in their legal battle. Sony argued that that wasn’t possible because of the way its partnership with Luke was structured. Although the label then arranged for her to be able to record new material for the major with other producers.

As part of their preparation to defend Luke’s libel action, Kesha’s legal team asked for information about the investigation Sony conducted in the wake of their client’s allegations against the producer. For its part, Sony said that the list of names of who its lawyers questioned as part of their investigation was protected by attorney-client privilege and therefore couldn’t be divulged.

However, last week New York judge Jennifer Schecter¬†ruled otherwise. She said attorney-client privilege wasn’t relevant here, and that Sony hadn’t demonstrated why sharing the list of names with Kesha’s people “would actually divulge legal thought processes or strategy”.

In a new court filing this week, Sony argues that this is exactly what sharing the list of names will do. The major argues that when law firm Gibson Dunn conducted interviews on its behalf regarding the allegations against Luke, it did so to inform how the record company should respond to the litigation into which it had been pulled.

Therefore revealing the identities if its interviewees would “reveal attorney thought processes and legal strategy”. If it failed to demonstrate this to the court previously, the major then basically argues, that’s in part because it wasn’t allowed to submit a more detailed argument and/or an affidavit from Gibson Dunn lawyer Scott Edelman.

Sony says in its court filing: “Sony’s investigation is not merely a set of materials prepared in anticipation of litigation, but was instead a collection of decisions reflecting legal strategy, undertaken only after Kesha filed a complaint, for the purpose of developing Sony’s legal defence, investigating the truth of Kesha’s allegations, and providing legal advice to Sony”.

With all that in mind, Sony requests that the court reconsider last week’s ruling.