Lizzo Wins Court Battle in “Truth Hurts” Lawsuit

Music

A judge in the United States District Court Central District of California has dismissed a countersuit against Lizzo seeking royalties from her song “Truth Hurts,” according to documents viewed by Pitchfork. Lizzo originally sued Justin Raisen, Jeremiah Raisen, and Yves Rothman in October 2019, seeking “a judicial declaration” that they “did not co-author ‘Truth Hurts,’ and have no right to co-own that work or to share in its profits.” The trio countersued in February, claiming the single was derived from a song with they worked on with Lizzo called “Healthy.”

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee agreed with Lizzo’s claim that “a joint author of one copyrightable work does not automatically gain ownership of a derivative work in which the joint author had no hand in creating,” noting that the plaintiffs themselves allege that “Healthy” was itself a completed “standalone” song and not merely a demo for “Truth Hurts.” Lizzo’s initial suit was prompted by claims Justin Raisen made online that Lizzo used the “melody, lyrics, and chords” of the “Healthy” demo for “Truth Hurts.” Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Lizzo for comment.

While Lizzo’s motion to dismiss the Raisens and Rothman’s first counterclaim was granted, Judge Gee granted the plaintiffs leave to amend their suit to allege new and different facts. The plaintiffs must file their amended suit or notify Lizzo and the court of their intent not to do so by September 4. Reached via email, Justin Raisen declined to comment. His attorney Larry Iser affirmed his clients’ desire to continue pursuing the suit:

The court’s decision to dismiss just one of our five counterclaims is
only a temporary setback, as Judge Gee has granted us leave to amend
our pleading. We will be submitting amended counterclaims, which will
address the court’s concerns with our original pleading. We know the
truth may hurt, but Lizzo will not be able to continue denying our
clients’ substantial contributions to the Grammy winning song for much
longer.

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