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Attorney Spotlight

Learn about Richard Arnholt's diverse government contracts practice and why he chose to pursue a career in the legal field. Read more>

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In June 2017, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: PNFP) closed a $1.9 billion merger with BNC Bancorp (NASDAQ: BNCN) pursuant to which BNC merged with and into Pinnacle. With the completion of the transaction, Pinnacle becomes a Top 50 U.S. Bank. The merger will create a four state footprint concentrated in 12 of the largest urban markets in the Southeast. 

Bass, Berry & Sims has served Pinnacle as primary corporate and securities counsel for more than 15 years and served as counsel on the transaction. Our attorneys were involved in all aspects related to the agreement, including tax, employee benefits and litigation. 

Read more details about the transaction here.

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Regulation A+

It seems that lately there has been a noticeable uptick in Regulation A+ activity, including several recent Reg A+ securities offerings where the stock now successfully trades on national exchanges. In light of this activity, we have published a set of FAQs about Regulation A+ securities offerings to help companies better understand this "mini-IPO" offering process, as well as pros and cons compared to a traditional underwritten IPO.

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Labor Talk Blog: Arbitration Provision in Employee Handbook Not Enforceable

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November 30, 2015

Employers should not rely on handbook provisions to create enforceable obligations on employees.  The employers who do so took another loss recently. In Lorenzo v. Prime Commc'ns, LP, 2015 BL 386874, 4th Cir., No. 14-1622, 11/24/15, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an arbitration provision, contained in an employee handbook, was not enforceable. The provision, said the Court, did not require an employee to take her wage and hour claims to arbitration. Rather, the employee was free to pursue those claims – including a collective action – in federal court.

Why was the arbitration provision not enforceable? Because, the handbook acknowledgement (as most do) expressly stated that the handbook was not intended to create an employment contract or to hold the parties to binding promises. Here, the employer wanted to maintain the flexibility to change its handbook policies when and as needed. That is a wise practice. However, such a provision in a handbook means that employees too are not "bound" by handbook. When the handbook says expressly that it does not impose contractual obligations or enforceable promises, that means the handbook does not bind the employer (and employers are wise to preserve that flexibility), but it also means the handbook cannot bind the employee either (hence, this ruling).

Employers who wish to impose binding obligations on employees should do so through separate written agreements, and not by using handbook provisions that almost universally say they are not intended to be binding obligations on the parties.

For more labor and employment information, visit www.BassBerryLaborTalk.com.


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