A judge on Friday dismissed much of a lawsuit brought by three songwriters who argue they should be credited for Lizzo’s hit “Truth Hurts.”
Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, as well as Justin “Yves” Rothman, have alleged that the song is copied from “Healthy,” a track they wrote with Lizzo a few months before “Truth Hurts” was composed.
In her ruling on Friday, Judge Dolly M. Gee held that under 9th Circuit precedent, the trio cannot claim joint authorship of “Truth Hurts,” because they have said it is a separate work derived from “Healthy.”
“Even if Counterclaimants are co-authors of ‘Healthy,’ they have not alleged any ownership interest in ‘Truth Hurts,’ which they claim is a derivative work of ‘Healthy,’” the judge wrote.
That is not the end of the dispute, however. According to the ruling, the three songwriters have indicated that they now intend to claim that “Truth Hurts” was the end result of a continuous creative process that began with “Healthy.”
Gee allowed the songwriters to amend their lawsuit to pursue that theory.
The trio are also seeking a declaration that they are co-owners of “Healthy,” but that claim was not part of Lizzo’s motion to dismiss.
“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,” said the songwriters’ attorney, Lawrence Y. Iser. “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.”
The case began last October, when Lizzo went to court seeking a declaration that the trio did not deserve credit on “Truth Hurts.” Her attorneys claimed at the time that the Raisens had been threatening to go public with their allegations if they did not receive compensation.
“The men who now claim a piece of ‘Truth Hurts’ did not help me write any part of the song,” she wrote on Instagram.
The three filed a counterclaim in February, alleging that a musicologist had found significant similarities between the two tracks. Both songs include the famous line, “I just did a DNA test / turns out I’m a 100% that bitch.” The counterclaim alleged various other similarities as well.
This story has been updated and corrected to state that only a portion of the suit was dismissed.