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August 2015


Article: “Conducting an Exit Interview that Effectively Safeguards Your Company’s Secrets”


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by Andrew R. Nelson, Esq.

If your business manufactures apparel, footwear, or accessories, many of your employees will eventually go to companies you consider competitors. While working for you, these employees were entrusted with all sorts of information you consider confidential—everything from designs and business plans to more esoteric items like methods of doing business. Naturally, you do not want that confidential information finding its way to your competitors.

But if the worst does happen, and something tells you that a competitor has hired your former employee and appears to be taking advantage of your confidential information, you may very well be correct to suspect underhanded motives by both the competitor and your departed employees. But consider an alternate theory. Perhaps the reason your “secret sauce” is no longer secret has less to do with another’s nefarious intent, and more to do with the fact that during your exit interview with that departing employee (if you had one at all), you effectively said little more than “Olé!” as the employee walked out the door not fully understanding his or her obligations to you … [Read the full article.]

Questions? Contact Andrew Nelson at


Recent Engagements

Litigation Practice Group:

FSG’s Litigation Practice Group provides practical legal advice to achieve our clients’ business objectives in an economically reasonable manner either through early resolution of disputes or through zealous advocacy in the courts.

Current and recent matters that our Litigation Practice Group attorneys have handled:

Corporate governance/control disputes: One recent case involves a company in which the owners are vying for full control of the company,  resulting in competing buyout demands and litigation.  Different iterations of such cases are very common and our litigators are adept in handling such member/shareholder/partner control disputes.

Premises liability: In this case, FSG negotiated the legal maze that arose from a shooting in our client’s retail establishment.  Numerous plaintiffs have claims against various potentially liable parties.  Our work also involved working with insurance companies to obtain coverage and limit our client’s exposure.

Vietnamese/Chinese business disputes: FSG has a very active practice working with the Vietnamese and Chinese business communities.  Some recent examples:

  • Landlord/tenant:  Our client, a commercial tenant, leased property that was purchased by a new landlord, who subsequently attempted to change the lease terms.  Our attorneys were successful in maintaining our client’s rights while negating proposed increased costs.
  • Distributor/supplier: One of our recent matters involved representing a Chinese business client (manufacturer of a consumer technology product for a well-known U.S. company) in a distributor/supplier dispute with a former U.S. distributor. This case presented unique challenges because of international discovery procedures.
  • Royalty/licensing agreement: Another matter involved a dispute over payment of royalty fees under a license agreement between a small O.C. based microchip manufacturer and a large international manufacturer of technology products.  This three-year case involved numerous issues over the scope of the license and royalties.

Prop 65 representation: FSG has several matters pending defending consumer goods manufacturers and retailers regarding Proposition 65.  Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was intended to protect California citizens from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals.  However, the law’s reach is so invasive that it has become a tool to enrich a handful of lawyers at the expense of innocent businesses.  FSG attorneys have developed significant expertise defending and advising clients in these matters.

Unfair competition: Deceptive or wrongful business practice suits run the gamut from everyday occurrences to extremely complicated disputes.  In this large, complex case, our client sued for breach of contract and unfair competition under a joint venture agreement with a much larger company.  The case involved supplier claims, financing arrangements and other terms that required highly sophisticated representation.

These are just a few of our recent cases.  Our attorneys represent business clients in a broad range of complex and day-to-day business disputes, including breaches of contract, real estate litigation, consumer claims and class actions, partnership and corporate control disputes, intellectual property, trade secrets, employment, breach of fiduciary duty claims, construction defect, product liabilities, professional negligence, unfair competition, mergers and acquisitions litigation, and other business disputes.

If you have any questions about our Litigation Practice Group, please contact Robert E. Adel, shareholder, at


FSG partner Robert Gerard attends SIMA’s “Surf Summit 18″

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FSG partner and well-known surf industry expert Robert Gerard attended “Surf Summit 18,” held in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, May 13-16, 2015 for 3 days of networking, seminars, special events — and surfing!  The event was hosted by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) and Board Retailers Association (BRA).  SIMA is the trade association of competing surf industry product suppliers working together for the development of the surf industry.  Over 200 surf industry executives were at the conference, including 38 retailers from 26 retail shops.  Quiksilver’s Bob McKnight was the keynote speaker and other speakers included legendary freesurfers Alex Gray and Bruce Irons.

Robert Gerard is a shareholder at FSG and heads the firm’s Employment & Labor Practice Group.  Contact him at


Recent Speeches

OCCSEA (Overseas Chinese Civil and Structural Engineering Association), Orange County chapterBill Tran, Of Counsel, and Andrew Nelson, Associate, spoke June 28th on “10 Must-Have Clauses in Your Engineering or Design Contracts” and “Avoiding, Minimizing and Resolving Construction Disputes” (respectively).  They will also speak to the OCCSEA Los Angeles chapter in July on the same topics.  The OCCSEA is a nationwide, non-profit trade association whose mission is to enhance and support Chinese Americans and overseas Chinese professionals in the civil engineering, architectural design, development and construction fields with technical/academic exchanges and cooperation.


Bill Tran joins FSG as Of Counsel

Type your paragraph here. Type your paragraph here. Type your paragraph here.. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the country.  Now is the time for all good time.

FSG is pleased to announce that William Q. Tran has joined the firm as Of Counsel.

Bill’s practice focuses on all aspects of complex business and corporate litigation in federal and state courts. Bill has represented and advised clients in a broad range of business matters and disputes, including contracts, real estate, consumer claims and class actions, partnership and corporate control disputes, intellectual property, trade secrets, employment, breach of fiduciary duty claims and other business torts. Strongly rooted in Orange County, Bill has acted as lead counsel or co-lead counsel to advise and manage litigation for a diverse spectrum of Orange County and other Southern California corporations and individuals, including public-traded corporations, technology companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors, healthcare professionals, real estate developers, financial institutions and smaller, privately-held companies.

Bill is also committed to furthering the needs of the Vietnamese-American business community and connecting Vietnamese-American business decision-makers and entrepreneurs to the highest-caliber legal services. He recently served as the chapter president of the Vietnamese Strategic Ventures Network, a non-profit group dedicated to Vietnamese American entrepreneurs, technology companies and venture capitalists in Orange County. Early in his career, Bill also worked as a grant writer and youth counselor for the non-profit agency Vietnamese Community of Orange County, Inc., where he obtained over $600,000 in grant funding to target family and youth family, mental health and minority business development projects.

Bill received his B.A., Literature, from the University of California at Los Angeles, magna cum laude in 1995, and J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (“Boalt Hall”) in 2000.  See news release


New Hire: Anthony S. Chavez

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FSG is pleased to announce the addition of Anthony S. Chavez as an Associate.

Anthony’s practice focuses on commercial litigation. He represents clients in state and federal court in connection with various business, commercial, and contractual matters.  Prior to joining FSG, he was an associate attorney at a large firm in Los Angeles, California specializing in complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense.  Anthony gained experience representing clients in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation including antitrust, unfair competition, breach of contract, and fraud.

Anthony received his B.A. degree from Stanford University in 2008 and J.D. from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law in 2012.

While in law school, Anthony served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Judge Kim Wardlaw at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California and a judicial extern to the Honorable Magistrate Judge Andrew Wistrich at the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, California.  See news release.


Surf Industry Waterman’s Underwriting Event

The annual SIMA Waterman’s Underwriting party was held recently at The Ranch in Laguna Beach last week, attended by more than 80 top surf industry executives. Funds were raised by guests underwriting specific portions of the Waterman’s Weekend like the event program. Bryan Friedman and Robert Gerard attended on behalf of FSG.


About FSG

Friedman Stroffe & Gerard, P.C. ("FSG") is a full-service business law firm representing domestic and foreign clients in a wide variety of business transactions and litigation since 1996. Our primary objective is to achieve our client's business goals through providing superior personalized service in an efficient and cost-effective manner.


Friedman Stroffe & Gerard - 19800 MacArthur Boulevard Suite 1100 - Irvine CA 92532 - USA
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