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

Cigar Association of America v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (No. 1:16-cv-1460 D.D.C. 2017)

The legal issue in this case is whether the warning label disclosure requirements of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Deeming Rule are a rational, well-justified response to the public health issues associated with cigars.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Open

RPF Oil Co. v. Genesee Cty. and Genesee Cty. Health Dep’t, Genesee Cty. Circuit Ct., Case No. 17-109107-CZ (2017)

The legal issue in this case is whether a preliminary injunction against Genesee County’s Tobacco 21 Regulation would deprive county residents, particularly young people, of the demonstrable public health benefits of prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to persons under 21 years of age.

State: Michigan
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Open

Public Citizen, Inc. v. Donald J. Trump, U.S. District Ct. for D.C., Civil Action No. 17-253 (2017)

The legal issue in this case is whether Executive Order 13771 threatens to block, weaken, or delay critical public health protections in contravention of congressional intent, jeopardizing progress in public health seen since Congress established the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the early 20th century.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Open

Earl E. Graham v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the 11th Circuit) (2016)

The legal issue in this case is whether the Panel’s preemption analysis accurately interpreted Congressional intent when it omitted consideration of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act’s preservation and savings clauses, leading to the conclusion that any state regulation banning sales of tobacco product is subject to implied preemption.

State: Florida
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Closed

Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, U.S. No. 15-1391 (2016)

The legal issue in this case is whether state credit card no-surcharge laws unconstitutionally restrict speech conveying price information (as the Eleventh Circuit has held), or regulate economic conduct (as the Second and Fifth Circuits have held).

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Closed

National Restaurant Association v. NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, et al. (2016)

The legal issue in this case is whether New York City’s sodium warning rule is a scientifically controversial, arbitrary and capricious, constitutionally invalid measure preempted by federal law, or whether the sodium warning is a scientifically sound, legally well-grounded measure representing a reasonable response to a public health crisis.

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2017
Status: Closed

U.S. Food & Drug Administration v. Lorillard, Inc., No. 14-5226 (U.S. Ct. Appeals for D.C. Circuit 2015)

The legal issue in this case is whether the district court erred in holding that three of the world’s foremost authorities on nicotine addiction should be disqualified altogether from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee because of purported conflicts of interest and that the FDA should be barred from using a March 2011 report on menthol cigarettes issued by this committee.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2016
Status: Closed

National Association of Manufacturers, et al., v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (2015)

The legal issue in this case is whether the court should grant en banc review of National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, given the panel’s novel holdings that, if broadly adopted, would have a significant impact on the robust mandatory disclosure regimes required in public health and safety.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2015
Status: Closed