Vioxx Verdict Raises Profile of Texas Lawyer

HOUSTON, Aug. 21 - Last Wednesday, W. Mark Lanier preached to a jury in Angleton, Tex., telling seven men and five women to remember the story of David and Goliath and smite the drug maker Merck with a verdict that would be heard around the world.

On Friday, the jury fulfilled Mr. Lanier's wishes, finding Merck liable for the death of Robert C. Ernst, who died in 2001 after taking Merck's painkiller Vioxx for eight months. The jury awarded $253.5 million to Carol Ernst, Mr. Ernst's widow and Mr. Lanier's client, in one of the largest damage awards ever to a single plaintiff.

And on Sunday, Mr. Lanier was preaching again, this time at his regular Bible class at Champion Forest Baptist Church in northwest Houston, about 60 miles from Angleton.

Details here from the New York Times.