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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is suing a Henry County law firm over a bank failure, saying the firm's handling of loans to a developer represented malpractice.

The lawsuit against Smith Welch & Brittain and 1 of its partners, J. Mark Brittain, alleges malpractice in Brittain's handling of loans Neighborhood Community Bank made to a developer from 2005 to 2007.

Neighborhood Community failed in 2009.

The suit claims the bank hired Brittain to process loan documents for land purchases by developer Jeff Grant and that Brittain had served as a lawyer for Grant. The FDIC is seeking damages of more than $6 million.

Christine Mast, an attorney representing Brittain and his firm, said Neighborhood Community was to blame for its failure and that the loans were at risk for default from the beginning.

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