Amicus Briefs

The Public Health Law Center plays 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

Your search returned 23 cases.

Bullitt County Fiscal Court et al. v. Bullitt County Board of Health (No. 2011-CA-001798-MR)

The legal issue in this case is whether Bullitt County Board of Health has the authority to promulgate a countywide smoke-free policy that regulates indoor smoking in public buildings, workplaces and other specified public areas.

State: Kentucky
Most Recent Decision: 2014
Status: Closed

National Association of Tobacco Outlets v. City of Providence (U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the 1st Circuit) (2013)

The legal issue in this case is whether Providence’s Pricing Ordinance which regulates retailer use of discount tobacco coupons and multipack discounts in tobacco sales, infringes on freedom of speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

State: Rhode Island
Most Recent Decision: 2013
Status: Closed

Cleveland v. State, 989 N.E. 2d 1072 (Ohio Ct. App. 2013)

The legal issue in this case is whether an amendment to state law that is not a general law for purposes of home-rule analysis, and that purports to preempt the home rule authority of Ohio cities to address serious public health problems such as food-based health disparities, violates the Ohio constitution’s home rule amendment and one-subject rule.

State: Ohio
Most Recent Decision: 2013
Status: Closed

23-34 94th St. Grocery Corp. v N.Y.C. Board of Health, 685 F.3d 174 (2nd Cir. 2012)

The legal issue in this case is whether Congress’s intent in enacting the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act’s preemption provision was to protect tobacco companies from “diverse, nonuniform, and confusing cigarette labeling and advertising regulations,” rather than to bar public health messaging that does not place any requirements on tobacco companies.

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2012
Status: Closed

Curtis v. Altria Group, Inc. and Philip Morris USA, Inc., 813 N.W.2d 891 (Minn. 2012)

The legal issue in this case is whether a private lawsuit alleging a consumer protection law violation by a tobacco manufacturer should be dismissed for lack of public benefit.  

State: Minnesota
Most Recent Decision: 2012
Status: Closed

23-34 94th St. Grocery Corp. v. N.Y.C. Board of Health, 757 F. Supp. 2d 407 (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

The legal issue in this case is whether New York City’s health regulation, Resolution § 181.19, requiring tobacco retailers to post factual health warnings where tobacco products are sold, is preempted by federal law, violates the free speech provisions of the federal and state constitutions, and exceeds the authority of the Board of Health under New York State Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2010
Status: Closed

Altria Group, Inc., et. al. v. Good et. al., 555 U.S. 70 129 S. Ct. 538 (2008)

The legal issue in this case is whether tobacco companies can be sued under state law for deceptive advertising of “light” cigarettes or whether federal law prohibits such lawsuits.

State: Maine
Most Recent Decision: 2008
Status: Closed

Beachfront Entertainment, Inc. v. Town of Sullivan’s Island, 666 S.E.2d 912 (S.C. 2008)

The legal issue in this case is whether state or federal law expressly or impliedly preempted a local smoke-free ordinance.

State: South Carolina
Most Recent Decision: 2008
Status: Closed