W. Mark Lanier

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William Mark Lanier (born October 20, 1960[1]) is an American trial lawyer and founder and CEO of the Lanier Law Firm. He has led a number of high profile product litigation suits resulting in billions of dollars in damages, including Johnson & Johnson baby powder and Merck & Co.'s Vioxx drug.

Legal career[edit]

After graduating from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1984,[2] Lanier began his legal career working in Houston for Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright), working in the appellate and trial divisions.[1] In 1990, Lanier founded The Lanier Law Firm.[2]

Verdicts have included billions of dollars in damages concerning business fraud, asbestos, and other product-use related lawsuits.[3][4][5][6] In cases about Vioxx, hip replacements and talcum powder he has faced John Beisner as an opponent lawyer.[7]

In 2004 Lanier founded the Christian Trial Lawyers Association.[8]

Vioxx litigation[edit]

In 2005, Lanier represented Carol Ernst in a lawsuit against Merck & Co., a pharmaceutical company and manufacturer of Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat osteoarthritis and acute pain conditions. Ernst was married to Robert Ernst, a former marathon runner who died after taking the medication. The case was initially decided in Ernst's favor, with a jury awarding her a $253 million verdict. In another case Lanier obtained consumer fraud findings against Merck who it was claimed had misled doctors and patients by concealing information about Vioxx and its risks.[9][10] The first ruling was overturned on appeal in 2008 with the court noting Lanier "had not proved that Vioxx caused Mr. Ernst’s death" and compensatory damages were reduced in the second.[11]

Artificial hip litigation[edit]

Following the 2010 DePuy Hip Recall, Lanier represented plaintiffs in several lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Synthes, which Johnson & Johnson acquired in 1998.[12] In March 2016, five North Texas residents being represented by Lanier were awarded about $500 million for alleged complications arising from the hip implants.[13] The award was later reduced to $151 million at appeal.[14] In November 2016, Lanier won a $1 billion payout to six plaintiffs affected by the implants,[15] followed by a further $247 million to six New York residents.[16]

In April 2018 a retrial was ordered by the 5th Circuit court of appeals in the case against DePuy Orthopaedics, with the appeal judges accusing Lanier of "inflammatory tactics and outright deception" in the trial. Reuters reported that the ruling had a "truly extraordinary tone" when criticising Lanier's actions at the trial. Lanier had told jurors that in contrast to DePuy’s expert witnesses in the case, his expert witnesses were unpaid when in fact they were compensated $65,000 after the trial. Lanier also insinuated that DePuy were liable because they had been accused of bribing officials during from Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime and claimed that executives at DePuy were racist.[17][18] The retrial began in January 2019[19] and in May that year Reuters reported that Johnson & Johnson had reached an agreement to settle 95% of the 6,000 cases for a $1bn.[20]

Johnson & Johnson talc litigation[edit]

In 2018, Lanier led the trial team representing 22 women who had filed suit against Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuit alleged that the company's talcum powder products contained asbestos and that, after several years of use, had caused each of the women's ovarian cancer. The trial lasted six weeks and resulted in $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages being awarded to the plaintiffs.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Lanier was born in 1960[1] in Lubbock, Texas to a railroad salesman and housewife.[2] As of 2005, he was married with five children.[2]

His brother-in-law is former Texas state representative Kevin Roberts, who ran against Dan Crenshaw in the 2018 Republican primary to replace retiring Congressman Ted Poe. During the campaign, Lanier funded a super PAC which ran ads against Crenshaw.[21] Lanier appears as a character with the same name in the 2011 film Puncture.[22]


  • Lanier, W. Mark (1 December 2018). Torah for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance. Baylor University Press. ISBN 978-1481309820.
  • Lanier, W. Mark (15 June 2017). Psalms for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance. Baylor University Press. ISBN 978-1481308069.
  • Lanier, W. Mark (23 May 2014). Christianity on Trial: A Trial Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0830836673.


  1. ^ a b c Koppel, Nathan. "Lone Star Rising" The American Lawyer. March 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d Hays, Kristen (10 July 2005). "Lawyer in Vioxx trial known for putting on a theatrical show". Associated Press. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Amoco Loses Oilfield Suit". The New York Times. Bloomberg News. 24 November 1993.
  4. ^ Olafson, Steve. "21 Steelworkers who contracted asbestos disease win $115 million," Houston Chronicle. February 20, 1998.
  5. ^ Berenson, Alex (20 August 2005). "Jury Calls Merck Liable in Death of Man on Vioxx". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b "Johnson & Johnson Told to Pay $4.7 Billion in Baby Powder Lawsuit". The New York Times. 2018-07-12. Retrieved 2018-07-13. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Feeley, Jeff; Rosenblatt, Joel (27 June 2019). "Bayer's Roundup Legal Adviser Known for Fighting, Not Settling (1)". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  8. ^ Jeffreys, Brenda Sapino. "Texas Christian Trial Lawyers Association Formed" Texas Lawyer. February 23, 2004.
  9. ^ Berenson, Alex. "Vioxx Verdict Raises Profile of Texas Lawyer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  10. ^ Herper, Matthew. "Merck Loses First Vioxx Trial". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  11. ^ Berenson, Alex (30 May 2008). "Courts Reject Two Major Vioxx Verdicts". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Johnson & Johnson acquires DePuy for $3.5B - Jul. 21, 1998". money.cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  13. ^ Dye, Jessica. "Johnson & Johnson hit with $500 million verdict in hip implant trial". Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  14. ^ Raymond, Nate (26 April 2018). "Johnson & Johnson wins appeal to overturn $151 million hip implant verdict". Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Johnson & Johnson hit with over $1 billion verdict on hip implants". Reuters. 2016-12-02. Retrieved 2017-12-20. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Dallas jury orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $247 million to hip implant patients". Dallas News. 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  17. ^ Frankel, Alison (26 April 2018). "5th Circuit mounts searing attack on plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Lanier". Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  18. ^ Board, The Editorial (27 April 2018). "Hip Suit Needs Lawyer Replacement". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  19. ^ Frankel, Alison (15 January 2019). "For plaintiffs' lawyers Mark Lanier and Jayne Conroy, Pinnacle retrial is a family affair". Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  20. ^ Mathias, Tamara (7 May 2019). "J&J agrees to pay about $1 billion to resolve hip implant lawsuits: Bloomberg". Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Attack ads in Houston race being funded by brother-in-law's business". Houston Chronicle. 2018-05-17. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  22. ^ Neil, Martha (26 April 2011). "Mark Lanier ... Movie Star? Lawyer Plays Himself in Film Based on Antitrust Case". ABA Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2021.

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