Amicus Briefs

The Public Health Law Center and the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium play a unique role supporting public health policy by preparing amicus curiae, or friend of the court, briefs in legal cases of national importance related to public health. We have prepared and filed or joined in dozens of amicus briefs in key cases before the appellate courts of many states, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and many state supreme courts. For example, these briefs have supported local authority to enact smoke-free ordinances or to regulate tobacco distribution, and rules requiring restaurants to provide warnings on menus about sodium content.

Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in appellate court cases by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject matter. The briefs advise the court of relevant, additional information or arguments that the court might wish to consider. A well-written amicus brief can have a significant impact on judicial decision-making. Cases are occasionally decided on grounds suggested by an amicus, and decisions may rely on information or factual analysis provided only by an amicus. You can read more about the Function and Role of Amicus Briefs in Public Health Litigation.

The database below of cases in which we have participated in amicus briefs is searchable by keyword, public health topic, legal issue, state, and case status. You can also use the icons to do a quick-search of four broad topics.

Amicus Briefs Database

Abdul Khan v. Town of Middletown, and The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLC, C.A. No. NC-2017-0443 (2018)

The legal issue in this case is whether the Town of Middletown, Rhode Island, has the authority to enact science-based public health laws to protect its residents – particularly its youth – from addiction to tobacco products and the toll of tobacco-related disease and death.

State: Rhode Island
Most Recent Decision: 2018
Status: Open

Lora Jean Williams, et al. v. City of Philadelphia et al., Nos. 2077, 2078 CD 2016 (2017)

The legal issue in this case is whether the City of Philadelphia has the authority to implement a tax on soda and sugary drinks, levied on distributors of the products.

State: Pennsylvania
Most Recent Decision: 2018
Status: Closed

Nicopure Labs, LLC v. Food and Drug Administration, et al. / Right to be Smoke-free Coalition, et al. v. Food and Drug Administration, et al. (2016) (2018)

The legal issue in this case is whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulation expanding its regulatory authority over cigars, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products violate the Administrative Procedures Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, or the First Amendment.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2018
Status: Open

State of New York, City of New York v. United Parcel Service (U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit) (2018)

The legal issue in this case is whether the District Court’s civil penalty against UPS for illegally transporting hundreds of thousands of cartons of untaxed cigarettes from Indian reservation retailers to non-tribal members in the State of New York is constitutional, well within the court’s discretion, and consistent with the harm to public health caused by UPS’s violations.

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2018
Status: Open

State of New York, City of New York v. United Parcel Service (U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit) (2018)

The legal issue in this case is whether the District Court’s civil penalty against UPS for illegally transporting hundreds of thousands of cartons of untaxed cigarettes from Indian reservation retailers to non-tribal members in the State of New York is constitutional, well within the court’s discretion, and consistent with the harm to public health caused by UPS’s violations.

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2018
Status: Open

National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Xavier Becerra (U.S. No. 16-1140) (2018)

The legal issue in this case is whether the government has substantial latitude, and is entitled to deferential review, in regulating false and misleading commercial and professional speech within an industry, and in protecting the public from deceptive marketing and the purveying of misinformation by service providers.

State: California
Most Recent Decision: 2018
Status: Open

K & W Automotive v. Barrington, No. PC-2018-0471, Providence, R.I. S.C. (2018)

The legal issue in this case is whether the Town of Barrington, Rhode Island, has the authority to enact science-based public health laws to protect its residents – particularly its youth – from addiction to tobacco products and the toll of tobacco-related disease and death.

State: Rhode Island
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Open

American Beverage Association, et. al. v. The City and County of San Francisco (2016)

The legal issue in this case is whether San Francisco's ordinance requiring a health warning on advertisements of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) violates the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

State: California
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Open