HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (Times Free Press) -- A company involved in an unlicensed payday lending operation recently lost an early legal bid to silence some of its former employees.

Terenine, which provides the IT backbone for a payday consortium controlled by former Rossville used-car dealer Carey Vaughn Brown, alleged in court that three ex-workers had revealed secret details of the group's operations to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The company is suing the former employees for what it claims are violations of nondisclosure contracts signed by the ex-workers who were quoted in a news story published in December. Terenine President David Carney said criticisms of Brown's business operations in the article cost the company current and prospective clients.

However, Hamilton County Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton turned down a request for a temporary injunction. The suit now is on hold until the payday consortium can prove it is legally operating in Tennessee, attorneys said.

Read more about this story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.