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 43 cases.

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

Lorillard, Inc. v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 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

United States (and Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund) v. Philip Morris, 556 F.3d 1095 (D.C. Cir. 2009)

The legal issue in this case is whether several major tobacco companies violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the public about the health risks of smoking and to market tobacco products to children.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2014
Status: Open

National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc., et al., v. City of New York (U.S. District Ct., So. District of N.Y. 2014)

The legal issue in this case is whether New York City’s law prohibiting tobacco product price discounts violates the First Amendment and is preempted by federal law.

State: New York
Most Recent Decision: 2014
Status: Closed

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

Evans v. Lorillard (No. 2004-2840-B, 2011 WL 7860228 (Mass. Super. Sept. 6, 2011)

The legal issue in this case is whether Defendant Lorillard was denied a fair trial;  the trial court erred in denying Lorillard’s post-trial motions; and the award of compensatory and punitive damage was fair.

State: Massachusetts
Most Recent Decision: 2013
Status: Closed