Country trio Lady A’s messy dispute with singer Lady A finally appears to be settled

The members of a band next to a portrait of a woman
Country trio Lady A — made up of Dave Haywood, left, Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley — has settled a lawsuit against blues singer Lady A.
(Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CM / Dawn Lucrisia-Johnson)
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Veteran blues singer Anita White and the country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum have settled their dueling lawsuits over who gets to use the name Lady A.

The musicians filed joint requests on Monday for dismissals of name-dispute lawsuits, according to court documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

“The Band dismiss all claims in this action against White with prejudice. White dismisses with prejudice all counterclaims against the Band in this action. Each party shall bear its own costs, expenses, and attorney’s fees,” said Lady A’s motion filed in Tennessee. White filed a nearly identical motion in Washington state.


Terms of the settlement were not publicly disclosed, and it’s unclear if both parties can still use the name and what the terms of that use will be. But since the two parties asked to have the cases dismissed “with prejudice,” neither is allowed to refile the same claim in those courts.

Blues singer Lady A has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the country band of the same name, which was formerly known as Lady Antebellum.

Sept. 16, 2020

In a statement to The Times on Thursday, White’s spokesperson referred to her as “the Real Lady A” and said that White and the country trio reached “a confidential, mutually agreeable solution.” The singer also plans to release her ninth album, “Satisfyin’,” on Feb. 7 under the moniker Lady A.

“Lady A wants to thank all those that offered her encouragement, unconditional love, and support during this ordeal,” the statement said, with the singer thanking her legal team. “Their representation assisted Lady A, an independent musical artist, in protecting her name, amplifying her voice, and bringing awareness to the long history of Black artists being treated unfairly by those in the music industry.”

Representatives for the band Lady A did not respond to The Times’ request for comment.

The Grammy-winning group, known for hits including “Need You Now” and “Just a Kiss,” altered its name in June 2020 to dissociate from the racist history of the pre-Civil War era that the name Lady Antebellum conjured. The move came amid nationwide protests against police brutality after George Floyd’s death and widespread conversations about systemic racism.

White, a Seattle-based artist who has gone by the stage name Lady A for decades, initially called the band’s decision “ironic” and performative, considering that its members adopted the name Lady A without the consent of a Black artist who had released several albums under the same moniker.

Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, recently met online with blues singer Lady A, who wasn’t happy about the country group’s new name.

June 16, 2020

White and the band appeared to make nice during a publicized Zoom call in July 2020 and vowed to come up with “positive solutions and common ground.”


However, after negotiations over sharing the name quickly broke down, Lady A sued White later that month in Nashville’s U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Band members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and David Haywood and their company, Lady A Entertainment, sought a declaratory judgment to allow them to use the name without infringing on any of White’s trademark rights.

The band’s lawsuit said that the trio had long gone by Lady A informally and that White did not oppose any previous applications for the Lady A mark, nor did she seek to cancel any of the Lady A registrations or seek the trademark for herself.

Blues singer Anita White slams the band Lady A, formerly Lady Antebellum, for suing her over the name she’s used for decades.

July 10, 2020

But their litigiousness promptly sparked a backlash, with critics pointing out the irony of the group taking legal action against an established Black artist.

White responded to the band’s lawsuit that September by countersuing.

Her own trademark-infringement lawsuit — filed in Washington state — alleged that the group’s name change “caused tortious injury” to her. She demanded that it drop the Lady A name permanently and sought compensation for damages she said she incurred as a result of the band’s rebranding. She also laid claim to profits that the band collected while using the Lady A moniker.