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Changing employers could result in contract disputes

Things can be a bit complicated when Texas employees with access to confidential information choose to move on and secure employment elsewhere. On many occasions, these workers sign non-compete agreements. When claims arise that the terms have been violated, contract disputes can occur. Centennial Bank has filed a federal lawsuit against a former regional president and a competing bank, ServisFirst, alleging violations of the former employee's non-compete agreement.

The former top executive's role was reportedly being the only point of contact between Centennial and another bank during an acquisition. This deal was allegedly contingent upon the other bank's management structure being an important part of the branches that were being added during the acquisition by Centennial. Recently, the defendant quit working for Centennial and subsequently announced he was hired by ServisFirst. On the same day he left the company, three other employees quit Centennial in order to work at ServisFirst as well.

Centennial alleges that the decision of the employees to quit on the same day was a perfectly timed coordinated effort. One of the employees who left is accused of downloading his entire mortgage portfolio in order to take with him. The bank further alleges that it paid for credit reports that were run by the former president to scope out other business prospects in the area for his own personal gain.

The bank alleges a violation of the former employee's non-compete agreement, pointing out that it precluded him from seeking business within a specified area. The man reportedly set up his loan office in a county immediately adjacent to that designated area. According to the lawsuit, ServisFirst intends to expand into the area that its new chief executive has been researching. Contract disputes resulting from misunderstood non-compete agreements can be more readily avoided when workers in Texas seek professional assistance to negotiate an agreement that is clear and comprehensive, as well as consistent with the client's best interests.

Source: tbo.com, "Centennial Bank files lawsuit against former Tampa executive, rival bank", Jerome R. Stockfisch, Jan. 14, 2016

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