Attorneys for Wells Fargo and fired employees of the bank's Bluffton branch met Tuesday in Charleston for mediation that would resolve state and federal lawsuits, in which the former employees allege wrongful termination.
Hilton Head Island attorney John Bowen, who is representing the former employees, declined Wednesday to discuss the results of the mediation.
"It's a confidential procedure, and (I) cannot comment until the mediator's report is filed," Bowen said.
An attempt Wednesday to reach Wells Fargo attorney Jennifer K. Dunlap was unsuccessful.
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Bowen said the parties also await a report from a third-party forensics expert directed by a state court to examine data from the bank-issued cellphones of defendants Scott Zardenetta and Brian Natale.
In December, Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen ordered that the devices and cellphone records be turned over, after allegations by Bowen that a bank manager intentionally destroyed evidence.
Both state and federal judges in November rejected requests by Bowen to sanction the bank for the alleged destruction of evidence. Bowen had asked that Wells Fargo's defense arguments in the case be stricken. U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt Jr. said doing so would be premature until a state court ruled on motions to compel Wells Fargo to provide the phone evidence through other means.
Bowen is representing fired Bluffton branch manager Mark Stroud in federal court. Stroud is suing the bank, along with Zardenetta, a former Wells Fargo district manager; and bank investigator Chuck Owens.
Bowen is also representing former Wells Fargo tellers Deborah Govan, Maria Olivia Dulaney, LaTeshia Barnwell, Zylthia Atkins, Gregory Cherewko and Linda Gillet in the Beaufort County Court of Common Pleas.
Stroud and the tellers were fired in July 2012 after Zardenetta accused them of violating company ethics rules for receiving "credits" for opening new accounts he said they didn't earn. The employees countered that they were fired to cover up Zardenetta's alleged cocaine use and sexual harassment.
The bank has denied the allegations and said it did nothing illegal by firing the employees. It also asserts Stroud was fired for "documented performance and customer-service failures."
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.