Clouse Dunn LLP : Steve Kardell

Steve Kardell


Steve Kardell

214.220.3833 (fax)

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Complex Employment Law Litigation

Representing Executives in
Corporate Ethics Litigation

Corporate Ethics Investigations

University of Texas (B.A. 1973)

University of Houston (J.D. 1977)

"Beyond Whistleblowing: the Available Tools at Hand For Employees as Shareholder Activists in Corporate Governance"

"Navigating the Employment Issues Created by Sarbanes/Oxley and Advocating a New Cause of Action for the Era of Corporate Ethics";

"The Post-Enron Corporate Compliance Program: History, Theory, Evolution and Deficiencies"

Kardell is a seventh-generation Texan. His grandfather's grandfather was an early proponent of Texas tort reform, after being the first businessman sued in the Republic of Texas courts. See 1846 Tex. LEXIS 19.

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Mr. Kardell litigates complex employment issues, board of directors liability for employment practices, executive malfeasance and corporate ethics terminations.

Mr. Kardell will be speaking at the University of Texas School of Law Corporate Counsel Institute in Houston on April 17th and in Dallas on May 8th. His presentation, "Inside the Mind of a Whistleblower," will address the factors that encourage whistleblowing as well as the concerns that weigh against a decision to blow the whistle.

He is the author of Whistleblower and Bounty Law, a new, 700-page treatise scheduled for publication by American Lawyer Media/Texas Lawyer Books in April, 2012. WB&BL is a comprehensive and scholarly work on internal investigations, executive legal rights, whistleblowing and bounty laws, written from the perspective of the corporate executive.

To purchase this book, click here.

In addition to providing a timely compilation of important whistleblower protection statutes and an overview of emerging laws that provide for successful whistleblower bounties, the book will cover:


  • Important new administrative rulings relating to SOX non-retaliation, including pro-employee perspectives regarding adverse employment actions and reasonable belief.
  • Analysis of the all-important Section 922 (Dodd Frank/SEC bounty law).
  • Internal investigations from the perspective of the corporate witness.
  • Whistleblower access to internal company documents and proprietary data.
  • How the arcane topic of corporate privilege impacts whistleblower investigations.
  • Whistleblowing by in-house counsel.
  • The tenuous relationship of whistleblowers and the media.
  • Proliferation of mandatory disclosure rules for employees and executives.
  • Various Texas laws applicable to whistleblowers.




  • Overview Statutes
  • Section 806 (SOX nonretaliation)
  • Section 922 (Dodd Frank bounty and nonretaliation)
  • Sections 3729-3733 (False Claims Act bounty)
  • Section 3730(h) (False Claims Act nonretaliation)
  • Section 1057 (financial services nonretaliation)
  • Section 748 (commodities trading bounty and nonretaliation)
  • Section 7623 (IRS bounty)
  • Tex. Gov't Code §554.002(a) (Texas public employee nonretaliation)
  • Sabine Pilot (Texas common-law nonretaliation) Analysis
  • Internal Investigations
  • Issues Relating to Company Documents
  • Reasonable Belief Defense
  • Expanding Definition of Adverse Employment Action
  • Privileges
  • Duty Speech Defense
  • Whistleblowing by In-House Counsel
  • Relationship of Whistleblowers and the Media
  • Settlements
  • Emergence of Compelled Whistleblowing
  • Appendix of Statutes
  • Statutes Reference Chart


To learn more about whistleblowing, read Mr. Kardell's article, "Thinking of Whistleblowing?  Think Again."

To learn more about navigating the current executive minefield, read Mr. Kardell's article, "The Executive Minefield." 

Mr. Kardell presented at a live phone/web seminar, Investigations of High-Level Employees and Executives Navigating Complex Legal, Ethical and PR Issues in Internal and Government Investigations, on March 7, 2012.

Mr. Kardell presented at a live phone/web seminar, Employee Whistleblowing Claims Under SOX: Preparing for New OSHA Enforcement, on June 8, 2010.

Mr. Kardell has been quoted on executive termination cases in Forbes, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other national publications. He has represented executives and employees in the first cases brought in the state and federal courts in Texas dealing with non-retaliation rights under a corporate code of ethics. He has also developed international corporate ethics programs for such major multinational corporations as Electronic Data Systems, and also served as an advisor to the New York Stock Exchange on SOX compliance, corporate codes of conduct and corporate ethics litigation. He also developed and presently teaches the first corporate compliance class at the law school level.

In 2010, he negotiated what is believed to be one of the largest SOX retaliation settlements to date, resulting in significant corporate governance changes at a major Fortune 500 company, as well as a net cash settlement of $3.7 million dollars to his whistleblower clients.

He has also represented a number of Wall Street whistleblowers who have disclosed improprieties that led to the financial markets implosion, including Richard Bowen, the Citibank whistleblower whose testimony before Congress is generally credited as the stimulus for the current Department of Justice prosecutions of major Wall Street banks.

Before joining Clouse Dunn LLP, Mr. Kardell was an international partner in the Dallas office of Baker & McKenzie, where he headed that firm's labor and employment practice in the Southwest. He was a founding Member, SMU Dedman School of Law Multistate Labor and Employment Law Seminar, 1985-2004 and a former Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the State Bar. He is also Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law.

He is presently an Adjunct Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law. (Courses: Corporate Governance and Compliance; Law Technology), and is formerly Co-Editor in Chief of the Texas Association of Business Employment Law Handbook (James Publications), as well as a former law clerk in the Eastern District of Texas.