"Editor: Some have likened the impact of the financial crisis to the mushroom cloud of a nuclear bomb, with the financial services industry at the point of impact. Has that radioactive cloud of litigation spread to other industries?
Mack: We are now seeing an impact on businesses outside the financial sector. A company in any business with, say, 5,000 employees has multiple exposures to the financial crisis - with many of them presenting litigation possibilities. Companies of this size may invest their surplus cash in commercial paper and any reserves in longer-term debt instruments or in stocks. They may borrow from financial institutions to meet their long- and short-term needs. Their pension plan may also make investments, possibly in toxic securities like collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) or collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) or in the stocks or bonds of companies in the financial services industry. Those companies may bring litigation to recoup some of their losses, which might take the form of class or individual actions. And, they might be sued by their stockholders or pensioners for making unwise investments."