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VOL. 132 | NO. 193 | Thursday, September 28, 2017

First Tennessee, Pinnacle Financial Partners Settle Legal Dispute

By Andy Meek

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A dispute between First Tennessee Bank and Pinnacle Financial Partners stemming from Pinnacle’s recruitment of a group of First Tennessee employees when it first arrived in the Memphis market back in 2015 appears to have been resolved.

The two banks issued a joint, three-sentence press release Wednesday, Sept. 27, explaining that they’ve reached a resolution of the dispute. Terms were not disclosed, and both banks said there would be no further comment from either institution on the matter except for a brief statement included from Pinnacle CEO Terry Turner: “I deeply regret that this came about and that anything we did may have caused it.”

The matter had been headed for a jury trial following Shelby County Chancellor Jim Kyle’s denial this summer of a motion for summary judgment made by First Tennessee Bank. First Tennessee had brought the action in 2015 first only against Damon Bell, a First Tennessee executive vice president recruited to be Pinnacle’s Memphis president.

Pinnacle’s announcement of his hire happened essentially in tandem with the announcement of Pinnacle’s acquisition of Memphis-based Magna Bank in April 2015. At the same time, Pinnacle also announced the recruitment of a group of other First Tennessee employees.

First Tennessee’s complaint suggested those recruitments were the culmination of secretive efforts that included involvement from Pinnacle to recruit Bell and the other defectors while they were still employed at First Tennessee. Bell had worked in First Tennessee’s private wealth group, where his responsibilities included working with employees serving the bank’s private banking clients in West Tennessee.

Pinnacle announced its acquisition of Magna and that it had hired the First Tennessee employees the same week as First Tennessee hosted its annual shareholders meeting in 2015. Pinnacle went on to hire other local banking professionals from institutions like SunTrust after that first wave of First Tennessee hires, in addition to other First Tennessee employees who Pinnacle added later.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0