Justin S. Doran et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees/ Cross-Appellants,
Heartland Bank, Defendant-Appellant/ Cross-Appellee.
from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No.
Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, Natalie M. McLaughlin, Nelson
D. Cary and Daniel J. Clark, for appellees/cross-appellants.
& Kerschner, Ltd., Michael D. Stultz, and Christopher C
Camboni; Ice Miller LLP, and Paul L Bittner, for
& Elliott, LLC, and Rex H. Elliott, as amicus curiae.
Natalie M. McLaughlin.
Michael D. Stultz.
1} Defendant-appellant/cross-appellee, Heartland
Bank ("Heartland" or "appellant"), and
plaintiffs-appellees/cross-appellants, Justin S. Doran
("Doran") and Columbus First Bank ("Columbus
First" or collectively the "appellees"),
appeal from a July 18, 2016 decision and entry of the
Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. Appellees have filed a
motion to dismiss on the grounds of mootness. For the reasons
that follow, we dismiss the appeal as moot.
I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
2} In light of our resolution of this matter, we
will briefly summarize the facts. Doran worked for another
bank for eight years and was trained as a commercial loan
officer prior to starting work for Heartland on February 4,
2013. Several weeks after starting employment, Heartland
requested Doran sign an employment agreement that had
nocompete and non-solicitation covenants. As he had already
resigned from his previous job and been working at Heartland
for several weeks, he decided to sign the agreement.
3} As time went on, Doran became one of
Heartland's top commercial loan officers. In February
2015, Doran was invited to participate in Heartland's
performance driven retirement plan. The performance-based
retirement plan consists of (1) a bank-funded investment for
the employee, and (2) a life insurance policy for the
employee. The banking industry commonly calls these benefits
Bank-Owned Life Insurance plans or "BOLIs."
Doran's BOLI also had one year non-compete and
non-solicitation restrictions on his employment after
separating from Heartland. It was Heartland's intention
for the BOLI plan restrictions to take the place of the
restrictions in Doran's employment agreement. Doran
signed the BOLI plan.
4} In May 2016, Doran decided to take a job with
Columbus First. Doran resigned on May 4, 2016 and requested
that Heartland release him from his non-compete restriction.
Doran's anticipated start date with Columbus First was
May 19, 2016. Shortly before that date, Heartland sent
letters to Doran and Columbus First, threatening to pursue
all available remedies contending that the employment of
Doran by Columbus First was in violation of Doran's BOLI
plan and that Columbus First had tortiously interfered with
Doran's contract with Heartland. In response, ...