U.S. trial lawyer Mark Lanier opens U.K. law firm as class actions spread

(Reuters) – Houston-based trial attorney Mark Lanier, known for winning multibillion-dollar judgments in the United States, has opened a new law practice in the UK.

Lanier is forming the new Manchester-based firm Lanier, Longstaff, Hedar & Roberts with English barristers Tom Longstaff and Duncan Hedar, the firm said in a statement.

Lanier will maintain his practice at the US law firm Lanier Law Firm, which he founded. The Houston firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Roberts, will also be a partner in the Manchester firm.

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The new firm said it will target “corporate wrongdoing that has harmed people on a wide scale” and will pursue class action lawsuits against companies in areas such as pharmaceuticals, product liability and competition.

“We see the UK as an emerging market for our work,” Lanier said in a statement, adding that “abuse of power is certainly not just an American phenomenon.”

The Firm is set up as an alternative corporate structure that would allow non-lawyer professionals to participate financially in the Firm and receive outside investment.

Class actions in the UK have increased in recent years as legislative changes and court decisions have opened the floodgates to such litigation.

The US plaintiffs’ law firms, including Hausfeld and Milberg, also operate in the UK.

In the United States, Lanier currently represents 16 states accusing Alphabet Inc.’s Google of violating antitrust laws.

He won a $9 billion judgment against Takeda Pharmaceutical Co and Eli Lilly & Co over their diabetes drug Actos in 2014, which was later reduced to $36.8 million. Other wins included a $4.69 billion judgment against Johnson & Johnson in 2018 over allegations that the company’s talc-based products, including baby powder, contained asbestos and caused women to develop ovarian cancer.

Longstaff and Hedar have left to set up the new UK company from Exchange Chambers. A spokesman did not immediately comment on their departures.

The firm said it expects to announce its first case within the next month and hire about 15 employees within its first year.

The Lanier law firm has offices in Houston, New York and Los Angeles. His website lists about 50 lawyers.

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Sarah Remember

Thomson Reuters

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security and legal business, including legal innovations and key players in the legal services industry. You can reach her at [email protected]