FIRST COMMUNITY BANK, N.A. V. FIRST TENNESSEE BANK, N.A., ET AL - Articles

All Content


Posted by: Chandra Williams on Dec 14, 2015

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

William J. Wyrick, Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and Lawrence F. Giordano and Shannon van Tol, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, First Community Bank, N.A.

Attorneys 2:

W. Kyle Carpenter, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Floyd Abrams and Tammy L. Roy, New York, New York, for the appellee, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Taylor A. Williams, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Joshua M. Rubins and James J. Coster, New York, New York, for the appellee, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. C. Scott Taylor, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Martin Flumenbaum and Roberta A. Kaplan, New York, New York, for the appellee, Fitch, Inc.

Judge(s): BIVINS

First Community Bank, N.A. (“Plaintiff”), brought suit against multiple defendants for fraud, constructive fraud, negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, and violation of the Tennessee Securities Act, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated sections 48-1-101—126. Three non-resident defendants, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., and Fitch, Inc. (“Ratings Agencies”), filed motions to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, which the trial court granted. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction as to the Ratings Agencies, and the Plaintiff requested permission to appeal. We granted review in this case to determine whether the trial court erred in determining that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the Ratings Agencies and thereby dismissing the Plaintiff’s case as against the Ratings Agencies. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we conclude that the Plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction under a theory of general jurisdiction or specific jurisdiction. Therefore, we affirm the decisions of the trial court and the Court of Appeals on these issues. With regard to the Plaintiff’s attempt to establish personal jurisdiction under a theory of conspiracy jurisdiction, we likewise conclude that the Plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case of conspiracy jurisdiction at this point. However, we vacate the dismissal of the Plaintiff’s action against the Ratings Agencies on this theory and remand this case to the trial court to determine if the Plaintiff should be allowed to conduct jurisdictional discovery on the conspiracy theory of personal jurisdiction in a manner consistent with the guidelines set forth in this opinion.