The following is from the July 30, 2008, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Steve Kardell of SMU's Dedman School of Law provided expertise for this story.
By Cheryl Hall
Dallas Morning News Business Columnist
Steve Kardell is about to play Karnack in the classroom.
Wednesday, when the Dallas attorney convenes his first class of corporate compliance and governance at the Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law, he'll give his predictions for the next wave of corporate scandals to make headlines.
This will be the fourth year that the 60-year-old partner of Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP has taught wannabe attorneys how to navigate the often uncharted waters of government regulation. He always starts with his forecast of storms ahead for corporate America.
Last year, it was subprime lending; the year before, Silicon Valley stock options.
This year, he expects big pharmaceutical companies to run into legal headwinds for pushing their drugs for uses not approved by the government – so-called off-label marketing.
He also foresees trouble for overzealous promotion of gas shale stock.
Embedded in these predictions is Mr. Kardell's central message that Sarbanes-Oxley has become an equal-opportunity career threat. In this cover-your-corporate-buns world, companies are pushing liability for misbehaving down to midlevel executives.
"Corporations in real trouble will try to absolve themselves by offering up the guilty parties. It's almost like an Aztec sacrifice to appease the gods," says Mr. Kardell in his typical colorful hyperbole to speak what he feels is black-and-white truth. "They'll take a midlevel exec's heart out and roll it down the temple steps to prove they have diligence and zero tolerance."
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