Singer Chely Wright sues Nashville law firm

Chely Wright, the country singer known for such hits as "Single White Female" and "The Bumper of My S.U.V.," has filed suit against the Nashville-based law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis and one of its partners, litigator Paul Davidson, claiming they were negligent when representing her in a lawsuit against West Coast talent agent Gil Cabot.

Yet today, six days after filing her complaint in Davidson County Circuit Court, Wright has withdrawn some of its allegations. Her attorney, Tony Duncan of Franklin, filed a "notice of partial voluntary dismissal" that drops "all claims based upon emotional distress and legal malpractice" in the original lawsuit. Both documents are available at this link.

The complaint does not use the word "malpractice," and so it's not evident which claims Wright still asserts. Duncan declined to comment on the case when reached this morning. His filing came within hours after NashvillePost.com informed him and Davidson that a story about the case would be forthcoming.

As initally filed, the complain accuses Davidson and the firm of "negligently advising" Wright, "losing documents and audio tapes" furnished by Wright that would have helped her case, and "failing to advise Ms. Wright of the ramifications of certain actions they advised her to take during the course of the lawsuit." It asserts that as a result of these wrongs, Wright faced "additional, exorbitant, excessive, and unnecessary legal fees" and other costs, as well as emotional distress.

The complaint contains no information on the venue or outcome of Wright's lawsuit against Gil Cabot, and NashvillePost.com has been able to learn only that it transpired in California. Cabot is a veteran talent agent and television producer with an interesting past: He served prison terms for grand theft in the 1980s and attempted extortion in the 1990s, the latter conviction arising out of a scheme to force a Los Angeles TV anchorwoman to pay $30,000 by claiming to have a sexually explicit videotape of her.

Cabot has not returned a call for this story.

Davidson, a Vanderbilt law graduate who also holds an LL.M. degree from University College London, moved to Waller in 2005 after 20 years at Stokes Bartholomew Evans & Petree (now Adams and Reese). In his career, he has handled a number of high-profile litigation cases involving the entertainment industry and information technology. He represented Franklin-based healthcare IT firm AIM Healthcare in its epic legal battle against rival Arbor Healthcare, which ended in a settlement last March.

Ralph Davis, chairman of Waller Lansden, issued the following response on behalf of Davidson and the firm: "Paul Davidson is an exceptionally talented and dedicated lawyer. Ms. Wright was fortunate to have him representing her interests in this matter. While it is regrettable that this complaint was even filed, we're confident that it will be quickly resolved."

POSTSCRIPT added 9:12 a.m., Thursday 14 Dec. 2006:A certain Jeff Willins has posted a comment to this story protesting its mention of the criminal convictions of Gilbert A. Cabot, the California television producer with whom Chely Wright was involved in litigation in which Waller's Paul Davidson was representing her.

NashvillePost.com reserves the right to edit or delete comments posted by our readers. In this instance, we have edited the comment to remove assertions of fact about Chely Wright that we cannot confirm at this time. We have not removed the entire comment, which contains assertions about our reporting that we take very seriously.

We wish to make a few facts known:

Multiple attempts to reach Mr. Gil Cabot at the only telephone number available for him, in Malibu, were unsuccessful prior to the publication of this story. There was no answer at that number.The Los Angeles Daily News reported a story headlined "Anchorwoman Extortion Try Gets Talent Agent 5-Year Term" on 18 September 1990. It began: "A Sunset Strip talent agent was sentenced Monday to five years in state prison for attempting to extort $30,000 from KTLA-TV news anchorwoman Jann Carl by claiming to have a sexually explicit videotape of her. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor imposed the maximum sentence on Gilbert A. Cabot, who was found guilty in July of conspiracy and attempted extortion in connection with a June 10, 1988, meeting with Carl." The article concluded by noting that court records showed Cabot as having been convicted in 1981 of seven felony counts, including grand theft, and sentenced to six years in prison. (News database searches turned up several other accounts of the 1990 case, none with any indication of subsequent error correction.) Los Angeles County Superior Court records obtained by NashvillePost.com include the following entry: "Name: CABOT, GILBERT ALFRED / Case Number XSONA032899-01 / Charge Code 524 PC / ATTEMPTED EXTORTION / Guilty/Convicted."As noted in the comment by Jeff Willins, Gil Cabot discusses aspects of the case that led to his 1990 conviction at his website, GilCabot.com. We refer our readers there for further information.

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