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CHEYENNE – U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal issued an initial pretrial order for a civil suit filed by First Interstate Bank against seven former employees on Aug. 16, 2021. The initial pretrial conference and subsequent order established a preliminary calendar for the suit. 

In April, First Interstate Bank filed a suit against defendants David Hubert, Donovan McComb, Nicole Christensen, Jay Martinson, John Dick, Kimberlee Newman and Myriah Phelps, after they — among other employees — abruptly exited First Interstate Bank in March to join competitor Glacier Bank. 

In their initial complaint, the bank alleged the defendants breached their employment contracts with the bank and the bank was harmed as a result. Attorneys for First Interstate Bank argued the company’s Code of Conduct, which the defendants signed as a condition of employment, is a legally binding document. The code forbade the employees from using confidential market information obtained by First Interstate Bank for personal gain or for the benefit of a competitor and from sharing any confidential information with a future employer, both of which, First Interstate Bank alleges, the defendants violated by sharing proprietary information with Glacier Bank. 

As a result of this breach of contract, the bank asserts, the defendants harmed First Interstate Bank’s business relationships by enticing customers to join their competitor, Glacier Bank. 

In their answers to the plaintiffs’ complaint, defendants denied taking any documents containing business information, property or trade secrets from First Interstate Bank, interfering with First Interstate Bank’s existing customer relationships, or organizing their departure to harm First Interstate Bank. While they admitted to signing the Code of Conduct, the defendants assert they did not violate the terms of the code and that the code is not legally enforceable.  

Per the schedule established by Judge Freudenthal’s initial pretrial order, both First Interstate Bank and the defendants were required to name any additional parties to the case by Sept. 16, 2021, a deadline which has now passed. As such, the only parties in the case are plaintiffs First Interstate Bancsystem, Inc. and First Interstate Bank and the named defendants. 

Also according to the initial order, attorneys for both parties must designate any expert witnesses in the case by February 2022 (for the plaintiffs) and March 2022 (for the defendants). If no settlement is reached, the suit will go to trial Aug. 15, 2021.

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