The Lanier Law Firm, the Houston-based firm that recently won the United States’ first Vioxx-related jury verdict, has opened an office in New York City.

In August, Lanier represented Carol Ernst, who was awarded $253 million in her lawsuit against Merck & Co., maker of Vioxx. The jury award included $24 million in actual damages plus $229 million in punitive damages. Ernst’s husband died after taking Vioxx.