Metropolitan National Bank's Announcement on Judicial Rulings
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (February 18, 2010) - On February 11, 2010, Judge Chris Piazza granted Metropolitan National Bank's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Tom and Monica Terminella and Grand Valley Ridge, LLC against the bank and Lunsford Bridges personally. The Terminellas had accused Mr. Bridges and Metropolitan of violating the statute making it a felony to offer a potential witness something of value not to testify.
In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Piazza held that:
• On the face of the complaint, there was no cause of action and there was no bribery.
• This case would set a dangerous precedent and it would prevent a party from settling with one defendant in a multi-party case.
• Since Mr. Terminella’s lawyers also represented Dr. Morter, their representation of Mr. Terminella seemed to him to have breached a duty that they had to Dr. Morter, and that duty put them in a precarious position.
The complaint made allegations regarding an alleged bribe made to Dr. Tom Morter, which were proved to be wholly without foundation when Dr. Morter gave his deposition.
Contrary to the complaint filed by the Terminellas:
• It was Dr. Morter who contacted Mr. Bridges and urged the bank to settle his part of the case.
• Mr. Bridges never made Dr. Morter’s not testifying a condition of settlement.
• Mr. Terminella urged Dr. Morter to settle if the bank was willing to settle with him.
In addition on February 12, 2010 in the Circuit Court of Benton County, Judge Xollie Duncan granted Metropolitan National Bank's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the counterclaim filed by Bentonville USA Development Co., LLC and Tom Terminella. The judge also granted the bank's motion for foreclosure of the Bentonville USA property.
On February 3, 2009, Judge Kim Smith of the Washington County Circuit Court dismissed the Grand Valley Ridge, LLC lawsuit and granted foreclosure of the Grand Valley Ridge property. Mr. Terminella has appealed decision in Washington County which dismissed all of his counterclaims against the bank. Metropolitan is confident that Judge Smith's decision will be upheld by the appellate court.
These dismissals brought to an end the three lawsuits filed by Mr. Terminella against Metropolitan. In each of these lawsuits, the claims made by Mr. Terminella and his companies were found to be wholly without foundation and, in the cases filed in Pulaski County and Benton County, they could not even proceed to trial.
Metropolitan National Bank and Mr. Bridges are gratified that the bank has successfully defended itself in each of the cases filed by Mr. Terminella. Metropolitan is pleased that the bank, its officers and its employees have been fully vindicated and proved to have acted properly and in full compliance with the law.