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  • Lawsuit claims pizza exec stole secrets to start new chain

New York Pizzeria Inc. has filed a lawsuit claiming that a former vice president stole trade secrets to start a competing concept.

According to Law360, NYPI filed the suit in a Texas federal court against former VP and franchisee Adrian Hembree, claiming Hembree, along with "co-conspirator" and business owner Rvainder Syal, unlawfully obtained company secrets to start Gina's Restaurants.

The complaint states that Hembree had access to all of NYPI's confidential, proprietary information, including recipes and operations manuals, and provided that information to Syal without "privilege to do so."

NYPI's recipes were created by Gerardo Anthony Russo.

Hembree, his wife Gina and defendant Robert Salcedo, jointly own Salcedo/Hembree Investments LLC, which was an NYPI franchisee until 2011.

The lawsuit claims individual franchises Gina's Italian Kitchen, Kindling Restaurant Group LLC and Rollin in the Dough Inc., and their owners, Polo Sun and Phillip Raskin, were also co-conspirators, providing Gina's Restaurants with NYPI's secret recipes.

NYPI includes 32 restaurant units operating in five states and in the Middle East.

Read more about operations management.

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