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.


After graduating from Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas, Lanier attended Texas Tech University and David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1984, Lanier attended the Texas Tech University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate. Lanier was selected as Texas Tech's distinguished alumnus for 2005, and also serves on the board of the law school's foundation.[2]

Legal careerEdit

Lanier began his legal career working in Houston for Fulbright & Jaworski (Norton Rose Fulbright) in 1984, working in the appellate and trial divisions.[1] In 1990, Lanier founded The Lanier Law Firm.

Verdicts have included millions in business fraud, asbestos, and other product-use related lawsuits.[3][4][5]

Some of Lanier's trials have been carried on the Court-TV website and have been the subject of various articles and books.

In 2004 Lanier founded the Christian Trial Lawyers Association.[6] In 2017, Lanier was elected president of the National Trial Lawyers in 2018.[7]

Vioxx litigationEdit

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 was it was claimed had misled doctors and patients by concealing information about Vioxx and its risks.[8][9] 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.[10]

Artificial hip litigationEdit

Lanier has represented plaintiffs in several lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Synthes, which Johnson & Johnson acquired in 1998.[11] The lawsuits allege that DePuy marketed a faulty hip replacement system, despite knowledge that the devices were defective, and that the company failed to warn doctors and patients about the risks involved. This has led to several replacements being removed after failing prematurely.[12]

In March 2016, five North Texas residents being represented by Lanier were awarded $497.6 million for alleged complications arising from the hip implants.[13] In November, 2016, Lanier won a lawsuit in which Johnson & Johnson and DePuy were ordered to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs affected by the implants.[14] In 2017, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $247 million to six New York residents Lanier represented who had received the same hip replacements.[15]

Johnson & Johnson talc litigationEdit

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.[16]

Personal lifeEdit

Lanier is married to Becky (Smith) and they have five children.[17] He is the brother-in-law of former state representative and former congressional candidate, Kevin Roberts. Lanier funded an opposing super PAC which ran ads against Dan Crenshaw's candidacy for the nomination leading up to the Republican run-off election between Roberts and Crenshaw in the 2018 race to replace retiring Congressman Ted Poe.[18]

Lanier appears as himself in the 2011 film Puncture.

Lanier has organized several events on behalf of Guatemala SANA, an organization which provides health and education services in Santa Maria de Jesus, a town near Antigua Guatemala.[19]


  1. ^ a b Koppel, Nathan. "Lone Star Rising" The American Lawyer. March 2004.
  2. ^ "State of Texas and Texas Tech - School of Law TTU". www.law.ttu.edu.
  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. ^ Jeffreys, Brenda Sapino. "Texas Christian Trial Lawyers Association Formed" Texas Lawyer. February 23, 2004.
  7. ^ "Civil Plaintiff – Officers & Executive Committee". The National Trial Lawyers. 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  8. ^ Berenson, Alex. "Vioxx Verdict Raises Profile of Texas Lawyer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  9. ^ Herper, Matthew. "Merck Loses First Vioxx Trial". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  10. ^ Berenson, Alex (30 May 2008). "Courts Reject Two Major Vioxx Verdicts". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Johnson & Johnson acquires DePuy for $3.5B - Jul. 21, 1998". money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  12. ^ Meier, Barry (2013-11-19). "Johnson & Johnson in Deal to Settle Hip Implant Lawsuits". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  13. ^ Firm, The Lanier Law. "Dallas Jury Awards Nearly $500 Million Against J&J Unit in Bellwether Hip Implant Trial". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  14. ^ "Johnson & Johnson hit with over $1 billion verdict on hip implants". Reuters. 2016-12-02. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  15. ^ "Dallas jury orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $247 million to hip implant patients". Dallas News. 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  16. ^ "Johnson & Johnson Told to Pay $4.7 Billion in Baby Powder Lawsuit". The New York Times. 2018-07-12. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  17. ^ "The Lanier Law Firm". www.lanierlawfirm.com.
  18. ^ "Attack ads in Houston race being funded by brother-in-law's business". Houston Chronicle. 2018-05-17. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  19. ^ "Bon Jovi Rocks the Lanier Christmas Party". Houston Chronicle. 2009-12-27. Retrieved 2018-07-13.

External linksEdit