Court Dismisses Kesha’s Claims Alleging, e.g., Gender Discrimination Under the NYS and NYC Human Rights Laws and Gender-Motivated Violence

In an Gottwald v. Sebert (NY Sup. Ct. 653118/2014 April 6, 2016), the court dismissed singer Kesha’s claims against, inter alia, Lukasz Gottwald (professionally known as Dr. Luke). This is a breach of contract action brought by Gottwald, and includes counterclaims asserted by Kesha alleging, among other things, violations of New York City and State statutes based upon gender-motivated hate crimes and gender-based employment discrimination. Here I will focus on limited aspects of this fairly involved case.

Among other things, the court dismissed Kesha’s counterclaims alleging gender discrimination under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws. Citing Hoffman v Parade Publications., 15 NY3d 285, 289 (2010), the court explained that “it is well settled that to assert claims under the [New York State and City Human Rights Laws], a plaintiff must plead and prove that the alleged discrimination had an impact within those respective jurisdictions.” In this case the court held that it did “not have subject matter jurisdiction over the HRL claims since Kesha did not plead that the complained of actions occurred in New York State or City.”

The court also dismissed Kesha’s claims under NY Civil Rights Law § 79-n(2) and New York City Administrative Code § 8-904 (so-called “hate crime” laws), finding that she “fail[ed] to allege gender-motivated violence.”

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