Nelson Slander Suit

A West Springfield, Va., nightclub and Gunnar Nelson are caught up in a legal tangle after the club owner filed suit claiming the rocker made “false and defamatory” statements slamming him and his venue in an interview last year.

Jaxx Nightclub owner Jay Nedry’s suit raises several complaints including defamation, emotional distress and insulting words.

The beef apparently stems from a show that Nelson and his brother Matthew were booked to play at Jaxx in September 2008.

According to the suit, Nedry agreed to pay the duo $7,500 at the time. However, facing soft sales in the weeks before the show, he said he renegotiated a reduction with Nelson’s tour manager to $4,000.

The show came and went, $4,000 changed hands and Nedry alleges he never heard a peep from the Nelsons regarding problems with their compensation.

But fast forward to August 2010, and a different side of the story emerged.

In an interview with Kimberly Reed of, Gunnar Nelson explained he had a big problem with Nedry, calling his 2008 gig at Jaxx “a nightmare.”

“I highly recommend that no one goes (sic) to Jaxx, ever,” Nelson is quoted as saying in the article, adding that Nedry still owes him $8,000 from the show.

“Jaxx has gotten into a habit of booking national bands who don’t know any better, they might not come back again, but [Nedry] gets to rip them off once,” he continued. “If anyone out there is thinking of playing Jaxx I highly recommend they find somewhere else to play. I would rather play a community fair for free … than get ripped off playing another club like Jaxx.”

Nedry’s suit contends he never ripped Nelson off, citing a letter from Nelson’s attorney in addition to a road report that was submitted as evidence that the band collected $4,000 for its performance.

“After paying the Nelsons in full for their performance, Nedry never heard from them regarding any problems concerning their performance or concerns about their compensation,” the suit says. “Nelson’s statements have not only hurt Nedry’s personal and professional reputation, but are devastating to him personally considering that they were made by a person Nedry considered a friend, who was apparently acting with malice in a deliberate attempt to cause maximum damage and harm.”

The road report does note in handwriting, however, that the “buyer still owes us $3,500” and the attorney’s letter states that the documentation directly contradicts the assertion that “Mr. Nedry and Jaxx owe [Nelson] nothing.” A court declaration from Nelson’s tour manager obtained by the Washington Post also refutes Nedry’s assertion that the band’s fee was renegotiated, stating, “At no time did I agree to reduce the price for Nelson’s performance.”

Nelson attorney Vicki Greco told the Post the band played the show that night without receiving payment in full because “they took it upon Mr. Nedry’s good word that they would get paid. There was no reason to believe he wouldn’t be good for his word.”

When the remainder of Nelson’s fee never showed up, the band decided it wasn’t worth pursuing the matter in small claims court, she added.

The suit, which also names Examiner reporter Reed as a defendant, seeks punitive damages in excess of $100,000 and attorneys’ fees.