The $50 million-lawsuit by Fayetteville developer Tom Terminella against Little Rock-based Metropolitan National Bank took another turn during the first scheduled deposition of the case on Oct. 31.
According to court documents, MNB relationship manager Susan Slinkard began her deposition by Terminella’s attorneys at 9 a.m. Around 2 p.m. Slinkard, who is pregnant, suffered from a rapid heartbeat and was taken to the emergency room.
On Nov. 5, Terminella’s side issued a subpoena for Slinkard to reappear to finish her deposition on Nov. 12, the day MNB Washington County president Larry Olson was scheduled to be deposed.
On Nov. 7, MNB’s lawyers filed a motion to quash the subpoena, citing two letters from Slinkard’s doctors stating she should not complete the deposition until after the delivery of her baby, scheduled for delivery in mid-February.
Slinkard and Olson originated two loans totaling $14.5 million to Terminella in late 2005 and a dispute in November 2006 about loan provisions relating to interim interest carry while a Springdale subdivision was developed led MNB to eventually file two foreclosures against Terminella and his partners on May 30.
Terminella countered on July 1 with a $50 million suit alleging breach of contract and bad faith. Slinkard’s and Olson’s testimonies are key to Terminella’s claims that MNB did not live up to the original loan agreement.
The motion to quash indicates Terminella’s side is determined to follow its schedule of deposing Slinkard, then Olson, even if that means waiting until February.
In the motion to quash, MNB’s lawyer Charles Trantham wrote “This position could seriously jeopardize the preparation of this case going to trial, and other depositions should go forward in this interim period until Ms. Slinkard is available for deposition.”
In its response to the motion to quash filed Nov. 15 by Robert Ginnaven and Jim Penick, Terminella’s side noted no record of Slinkard’s emergency room visit has been supplied by MNB, and also questioned both the timing of her discomfort and why she is still medically cleared to work but not to continue her deposition.
“At the point of questioning concerning the agreement between the parties to use the $500,000.00 Certificate of Deposit for interest carry, Mrs. Slinkard apparently felt the need to excuse herself,” the response states. “After approximately 15 to 20 minutes, when Mrs. Slinkard had not returned, counsel for the bank returned and indicated that Mrs. Slinkard was feeling ill, an increase in heart rate had occurred, and that she could not continue the deposition.”
In answer to MNB’s position that others could be deposed before Slinkard, Terminella’s attorneys submit they have “the right to elect how they choose to proceed with their discovery effort.”
The response continues, “If Mrs. Slinkard is capable of working, it stands to reason that she should be able to sit and answer questions under oath, as it can be no more stressful to spend another day testifying truthfully than it is for her to spend another day at the office.”
The response also requests that Slinkard’s doctors testify to the “underlying medical basis” for why she shouldn’t continue her deposition. Stay tuned.