A bitter legal battle between South Carolina neighbors appears to have been settled amicably.

Claims and counterclaims from Fleet Real Estate Funding Corp. and Resource Bancshares Mortgage Group Inc. have been dropped.

The companies, whose offices are on the same street in Columbia, issued a joint statement saying they had agreed to the dismissal of all charges.

"Our marketplace production opportunities are too great to be distracted by litigation, and it is in our mutual best interests to work together, with open channels of communication at the highest level, and to put any and all issues raised in the suit behind us," the statement said.

Fleet filed for a temporary restraining order in May after some of its employees - including a few high-level executives and managers - went to work for Resource, an independent mortgage company. Fleet was apparently worried that the defectors would bring their customers to archrival Resource, and that information on company policy and lending techniques would fall into the hands of its competition.

The filing asked that Resource and the Fleet employees it hired be prohibited from soliciting Fleet mortgage customers, using any of Fleet's trade secrets, and from contacting Fleet employees on Fleet's property during business hours. It also sought to prevent Resource from giving Fleet employees false information about Fleet's business.

Resource filed a response to Fleet's complaint - denying many of the allegations - and filed counterclaims against its competitor a month later. Resource's counterclaims included allegations of unfair trade practices.

Some of the practices listed in the counterclaim involved loan pricing and loan processing. It said Fleet's actions constituted unfair competition. The counterclaim also said Fleet had made deceptive and defamatory statements its employees who went to work for Resource.

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