New Jersey rockers to play for Houston lawyer's holiday party

Marilyn Tennissen Oct. 21, 2009, 4:00am

Bon Jovi

The who's who in Houston will be watching their mail boxes in the next few weeks as invitations go out to plaintiffs' lawyer W. Mark Lanier's holiday party with this year's musical guest Bon Jovi.

According to the Ex Parte Blog from Texas Lawyer, the Houston attorney has signed the rock band for his Dec. 13 party. Lanier's bashes are known for high-dollar, big-name entertainers, like last year's performer Miley Cyrus.

Other performers at past Lanier Firm holiday parties include Brooks & Dunn, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Diana Ross, Johnny Cash and the Dixie Chicks. It was rumored that Paul McCartney would be the entertainment this year, but Lanier may be working to get the former Beatle for his 2010 party.

About 8,000 Texas movers and shakers were invited to the 2008 event, which was held at the ranch house of Lanier and his wife Becky near Houston. Attendees were asked to bring school supplies or make donations to improve education and reduce poverty in Guatemala.

Bon Jovi, the rock band from New Jersey headed by Jon Bon Jovi, has had a string of hits since the 1980s, including "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Livin' On a Prayer" and "Wanted: Dead or Alive."

Aside from party-planning, Lanier has recently been busy planning court room strategy.

In July, Lanier represented the family of a woman who committed suicide after taking an anti-seizure drug made by Pfizer.

There are more than 1,200 suits against Pfizer alleging Neurontin leads to suicidal behavior, and Lanier brought the first one to trial in federal court in Boston. But after only one day in court, Lanier and his clients agreed to drop the suit after they were made an unusual offer.

Lanier told The American Lawyer that an anonymous "friend of the family" wanted to spare the deceased woman's young daughter the ordeal of a trial.

The friend learned the amount the plaintiffs planned to ask the jury for in damages, and agreed to donate nearly the same amount for the girl's care and education.

Pfizer maintains there is no scientifically reliable evidence that the drug causes suicidal behavior.

The next month, Lanier was in Orange County, Calif., to file a suit against Facebook on behalf of five plaintiffs who allege the giant social networking site violated their rights and privacy laws.

He gained national attention in 2005 when his client was awarded $253 million in the first trial over the drug Vioxx.

Lanier was listed among the nation's top attorneys in the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America for his work in mass tort litigation.

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