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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Friday, August 19, 2005

The lawyer behind the Vioxx verdict

Well the big news in the legal field today was the verdict in the first ever Vioxx trial. The fact that Merck was found liable for the death of Robert Ernst was not that surprising. The amount of damages awarded, $253.4 million dollars, was surprising to many. This amount will almost certainly be knocked way down due to a cap on punitive damages in Texas.

To be fair Angleton, which is in Brazoria County, is known as a plaintiffs friendly venue. This is also not the first time that Mark Lanier, the lead attorney for Carol Ernst has tried a major case there. In fact he lost his last big case there.

Mark Lanier is indeed an interesting person. He does not fit the usual profile of a plaintiffs trial lawyer. Mr. Lanier is a Christian and a self-described "Social Conservative" and "pro-life advocate" who "generally supports Republican candidates". He also is a Founder of a Christian Trial Lawyer's Association. Mark Lanier puts on one of Houston's biggest parties every Christmas season at his home in the Woodlands. He often has big name celebrities such as Bill Cosby come to perform. Due to his religious beliefs no alcohol is ever served at these events. To anyone familiar with law firm holiday parties this fact can seem mind-boggling.

One wonders what the future holds for Mr. Lanier. He has long since made himself a very wealthy man and could easily retire from practicing law at this point.


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