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The Lanier Law Firm, founded by products liability plaintiff’s lawyer W. Mark Lanier, has opened a new office in Palo Alto, Calif., its second California office in the past year. Christopher Banys, an intellectual property attorney from the Silicon Valley office of Washington-based Howrey, has joined the Houston-based firm to head the new office, which will focus on its intellectual property practice. Banys specializes in intellectual property litigation, including patent, copyright and trade secrets. Lanier obtained one of the largest asbestos verdicts in U.S. history in 1998 and has amassed $1 billion in verdicts and settlements during his career. More recently, he obtained a $253 million verdict against Merck & Co. on behalf of the family of a marathon runner who died after taking the prescription painkiller Vioxx. The verdict was reduced under Texas law to $26 million plus interest. Last year, Lanier’s firm opened a Los Angeles office.

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