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Stephen E. Fox

Principal


214-292-4060
  •  
 

Stephen Fox is a Principal in the Dallas office of Fish & Richardson P.C. Steve has spent more than 25 years representing clients in boardrooms and courtrooms across the country, focusing on complex commercial and employment litigation and counseling, particularly in the areas of trade secret theft, corporate espionage, unfair competition, collective and class actions, employment discrimination, and wrongful termination.  

Steve’s courtroom experience enables him to advise both employers and employees in asserting and defending claims of trade secret theft, unfair competition, fraud, breaches of contract and fiduciary duty, and other complex commercial litigation, and in enforcing and defeating the enforcement of non-competition agreements. He also defends employers in lawsuits and administrative proceedings involving claims of wrongful termination and discrimination (age, gender, sexual harassment, race, religion, disability) under state and federal law.

Steve led the trial effort of renowned computer-game developer and company executive, Richard Garriott, against his former employer, Korea-based NCsoft Corp, for breaching a stock option agreement, securing a jury verdict of $28 million (and a judgment of $32 million).  The award was named one of the Top Verdicts of 2010 by The National Law Journal (NLJ), in addition to being recognized as one of the year’s ten largest verdicts in Texas.

Steve’s nationwide client roster looks to him for proactive and practical solutions to protect and defend their intellectual property and human capital assets, including trade secrets and confidential information. Steve also provides human resources counseling and management training on issues including wage and hour compliance, layoffs, leaves of absence, sexual harassment investigations, executive compensation, avoidance of discrimination litigation, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Worker Adjustment, Retraining and Notification Act (WARN).

He negotiates and drafts executive employment, non-competition, confidentiality and arbitration agreements, and, in addition to trying lawsuits and arbitrations, appears in administrative proceedings before the EEOC, OSHA, Dept. of Labor, and OFCCP.

Steve’s passion for courtroom excellence and client satisfaction have been repeatedly recognized by peers and clients in local, state and national surveys designed to identify exceptional legal talent.  For example, Steve has been named to The Best Lawyers in America list for the past nine consecutive years (2006-2014). He also has been selected as a Super Lawyer in Employment & Labor Law by Texas Monthly Magazine for eleven consecutive years (2003-13), selected by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2013 as one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in DFW,” and D Magazine’s poll of 15,000 lawyers has repeatedly named him one of the "Best Lawyers in Dallas" (2001, 2005, 2007-2014).  

He serves as frequent resource to print, broadcast and radio media on issues involving intellectual property lawsuits, trade secret protection and employment law. Steve has appeared on local television stations including KDFW (Channel 4), KDFI (Channel 5), WFAA (Channel 8), KTVT (Channel 11), and KDAF (Channel 33), and has been quoted or mentioned in many national publications including the Bureau of National Affairs, The National Law Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, American Way Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Modern Healthcare, Aventura, Dallas Morning News, Orlando Business Journal, The Dallas Business Journal, and Fort Worth Business Press.

In 1996, he joined the preeminent subcommittee in the ABA’s Labor and Employment Section addressing trade secret and non-compete issues—the Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee’s subcommittee on Non-Competition and Trade Secret Litigation—and, through that membership, became (and remains) a contributing author to several of BNA’s national treatises on the subject, including Covenants Not To Compete: State by State Survey, and Trade Secrets: State by State Survey, and Employee Duty of Loyalty: State by State Survey, and Tortious Interference in the Employment Context: State by State Survey.

Steve is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  In addition to maintaining an active practice, Steve is responsible for managing the firm’s trade secret theft, employment and employee mobility practice.

Admissions

  • Texas 1987
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • Fifth District Court of Appeals for the State of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Memberships and Affiliations

Member: American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section Member: Committee on Employee Rights and Responsibilities, Subcommittee on Non-Competition and Trade Secret Litigation, Subcommittee on Technology Law. Member: Society of Human Resources Management Professionals.

Other Distinctions

Publications/Speeches (selected examples)

Stephen is a regular contributor to Fish's Litigation Blog. His posts can be read here.

"Inventors Rejoice: Protecting ideas using trade secret law rather than the patent system," Fish Litigation Blog, July 8, 2014 (co-author).

"Keeping up with the Joneses: How will public institutions react to private institutions allowing collective bargaining for its players?" Fish Litigation Blog, June 20, 2014 (co-author).

"How To Kick Away World Cup Problems In The Workplace," Law360, June 27, 2014 (quoted).

"Radio interview pertaining to the unionization of college athletes," KILF-AM, June 2, 2014 (interviewed).

"What the Court Giveth, it May Taketh Away," Fish Litigation Blog, April 16, 2014 (co-author).

Stunning ruling 'first domino to fall' in unionizing college athletes, Association Press, March 26, 2014 (quoted).

Trending now: Trade secret litigation picks up in the Eastern District of Texas, Fish Litigation Blog, March 25, 2014 (co-author).

The inevitable disclosure doctrine in Texas after the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act: Alive and kicking or livin' on a prayer?, Fish Litigation Blog, February 26, 2014 (co-author).

Coming to a neighborhood near you – unionization of college athletes, Fish Litigation Blog, February 19, 2014.

Treasure maps or trade Secrets (or both): Protecting against misuse of seismic maps in oil and gas exploration, Fish Litigation Blog, February 14, 2014 (co-author).

Play nice, or else: Congress considers Federal Trade Secret Law covering foreign entities and actions, Fish Litigation Blog, February 5, 2014 (co-author).

Finding upside in defending wage/hour collective action lawsuits, Fish Litigation Blog, January 29, 2014 (author).

License to Sue: How the New Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act Adds to Your Arsenal Against Trade Secret Theft and Corporate Espionage, IP Law Section, Dallas Bar Association, December 2013 (author and speaker).

Certification in Employment Class Claims: Leveraging Comcast and Dukes, Strafford Webinars, November 2013 (author and speaker).

Offers of Judgment in Employment Litigation After the Genesis Ruling Leveraging Rule 68 as a Strategic Tool to Minimize Damages and Moot Claims, Strafford Webinars, September 2013 (author and speaker).

Does California's law on covenants not to compete hurt or help you? Fish Litigation Blog, August 29, 2013 (author).

Antitrust Update for Patents, State Bar of Texas IP Conference, July 2013 (Albuquerque, NM) (speaker).

Jury Selection in Employment Litigation: Preparing for Voir Dire and Selecting the Best Jury for the Case, Strafford Webinars, April 2013 (author and speaker).

How to Pick ‘Em:  Everything You Need to Know About Jury Selection, American Bar Association, Employment Rights & Responsibilities Midwinter Meeting, March 2013 (Miami, FL) (author and speaker).

Get Used to it: Recent Rulings Cement Arbitration Acceptance, DBA Headnotes, February 2013 (author).

5 Tips For Employers To Protect Their Trade Secrets, Law360, February 26, 2013 (quoted).

"Get Used to It: Recent Rulings Cement Arbitration Acceptance," Dallas Bar Association, Headnotes, February 2013.

Texas to Take Up Employer Access to Social Media Passwords, Law360, January 3, 2013 (quoted).

Redefining Noncompete Clauses, Dallas Business Journal, October 2011 (author).

Contributing Author to national publications, Covenants Not To Compete: State by State Survey (BNA); Employee Duty of Loyalty: State by State Survey (BNA); and Trade Secrets: State by State Survey (BNA).

Business Torts Issues in an Employment Context, Texas BarCLE, October 2009 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

The “Cutting Edge” Employment Law Update - Don't be Caught Unaware of New Laws and Changing Judicial Directions, 2009 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2009 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

iPods Rock!!! Or Do They?, Overtime Risks Arising Out of the Use of Wireless Gizmos--Policy Essentials for the 24/7 Workweek, 2009 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2009 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace, 2009 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2009 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

Non-Competes, Non-Solicits, Injunctive Relief and Much More: Protecting or Pirating (Legally) Human Capital in Texas, TexasBar CLE Webcast, July 2009 (author and speaker).

An Employer’s Guide to Safely Navigating Selected FLSA Issues, Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, 2009 Mid-Winter Meeting, March 2009 (Key West, FL) (author and speaker).

ADA Amendments Act of 2008: New Litigation Threat, Stafford Publications Audiocast, November 2008 (author and speaker).

Avoiding and Defending Religious Discrimination Claims in the Workplace, Stafford Publications Audiocast, October 2008 (author and speaker).

Arbitration: Still a Good Idea for Employers?, 2008 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2008 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

On the Cutting Edge: Employment Law Update, 2008 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2008 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

E-Discovery: What’s Practical for Employers and Employers (Part I, Intermediate Level), ABA Labor and Employment Section Annual Conference, September 2008 (Denver, CO) (author and moderator).

Employment Law Update for the HR Professional, Dallas Human Resource Management Association, Annual Employment Law Conference, April 2008 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

Idea for a Horror Film: ESI Meets the Hearsay Rule, Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, 2008 Mid-Winter Meeting, March 2008 (Dana Point, CA) (author and speaker).

Employment Law Update for the HR Professional, Dallas Human Resource Management Association, Monthly Luncheon Meeting, November 2007 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

“How to Do It Right” Track: Witness Interviews and Evaluation of Evidence, ABA Labor and Employment Section Annual Conference, November 2007 (Philadelphia, PA) (author and moderator).

Note to Self on Employee References: Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t!!, 2007 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2007 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

Shredding Documents and Keeping Secrets? It’s Not Always a Bad Thing. Identity Theft Issues Employers Should Know About, Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2007 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

Significant Recent Developments in Employment Law for the General Practitioner, Dallas Bar Association, October 2007 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

Electronic Data: New Rules Create Onerous Obligations. What do they mean to you?, South Texas College of Law, July 2007 (Dallas, TX) (author).

Electronic Data: New Rules Create Onerous Obligations: What do they mean to you?, Dallas Human Resource Management Association, Inc., April 2007 (Dallas, TX) (author).

Choices, Choices: Your Place or Mine?, Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, 2007 Mid-Winter Meeting, March 2007 (New Orleans, LA) (author and speaker).

The Sheshunoff Decision: Three Different Concepts of Enforceability and Their Implications for the Future, State Bar of Texas, February 2007 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

New Rules for Non-Competes: The Sheshunoff Shuffle, TexasBar CLE Webcast, November 2006 (Austin, TX) (author and speaker).

Reaching Employee Conduct Beyond the Workplace: What are Employers' Limits?, 2006 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2006 (Forth Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

Employment Law Update 2006, 2006 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Exposition, October 2006 (Fort Worth, TX) (author and speaker).

Use of Electronic Discovery in Non-Compete Litigation, Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, 2006 Mid-Winter Meeting (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) (speaker).

Covenants Not to Compete in Texas and the Related Common Law Causes of Action, 13th Annual Conference on Labor and Employment Law, May 2006 (Austin, TX) (author and speaker).

Electronic Evidence in Employment Litigation, 2005 HR Southwest, Human Resources Conference and Expedition, October 2005, (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

Enforcing Covenants Not to Compete in Texas: What You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask, Dallas Human Resource Management Association, May 2005 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

Injunctive and Other Non-Monetary Relief: Pursing the Ever-Elusive Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements, Texas Bar CLE, May 2005 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

Legal Considerations of the Departing Employee Before Departure, ERR Mid-Winter Meeting, March 2004 (Palm Springs, CA) (author and speaker).

Advanced Issues in Texas Employment Law, National Business Institute, November 2003 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

Employment Litigation Realities: What Really Happens Before and After the Lawsuit is Filed, May 2003 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

Use of Themes in Employment Lawsuits/Winning Trial Techniques, ABA Employment Section, May 2003 (Dallas, TX) (author and speaker).

“I Spy”: High-Tech Surveillance in the Workplace”, 2009 Mid-winter Meeting, March 2003 (San Juan) (author and speaker)

Education

  • BA, University of Notre Dame 1983
    magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
  • JD, University of Virginia School of Law 1987
    Notes Editor, Virginia Journal of Law & Politics