Is Taylor Swift’s litigation funding leg-up to Kesha more than just a very rich entertainer helping a merely rich one?
Or does it signify something more significant in our justice system?
The $250,000 handout to Kesha relates to her dispute with her record producer, Dr Luke, and Sony. She hasn’t recorded anything since 2012 and the Taylor Swift help displays the problems confronted by all plaintiffs in lawsuits.
The Mighty website wrote about the issue, saying that when you dig into the Kesha saga you wind something altogether much more worrying.
it tells a damning story about the structural injustices in our legal system that all plaintiffs face, regardless of income, as well as sheds light on a critical solution to these problems.
Kesha hasn’t recorded any new albums since 2012 as a result of her lawsuit with Dr Luke and Sony, alleging sexual abuse.
Last week, a judge ruled that she could not record music outside of her contract with Dr. Luke, a ruling that sparked outrage among her fans and fellow musicians. Most notably, Taylor Swift stepped up to donate $250,000 to Kesha for her financial needs. As laudable as Swift’s gesture is, the donation, to some, may feel like a very rich person helping a slightly-less-rich person — a story about the 0.1 percent helping the 1 percent.
But the dynamics – the power of the two parties is something that makes this a case something that many believe symbolizes the major structural problem for many plaintiffs.
And the asymmetry in financial standing between the plaintiff and defendant gravely amplifies this advantage. Kesha is, so far, unable to make any money working in her profession without going through Dr. Luke, while Dr. Luke can keep working with other clients and generating income.
All of which plays into the hands of any defendant and is a strategy they commonly used as a war of attrition to burn off the plaintiff and exhaust them financially and emotionally.
It’s called “frivolous defense,” a phrase you will have heard much less frequently than “frivolous lawsuits,” even though many scholars believe it is the former that causes our courts to clog, not the latter. Richard L. Abel, Cornell professor of Law at UCLA, notes in an article in the New York Law School Review that the real crisis in tort litigation is caused by “defendants who assert frivolous defenses, abuse procedure, file hopeless appeals… all to discourage legitimate claims and delay payment.” Justice delayed is no justice at all.
All of which creates a major issue for not just the law, but also for some major league entertainers who are amplifying the issue as much as any Number 1 hit single.