Litigation is an important tool to defend and advance public health policy. This tracker provides information and official court documents from select lawsuits within the focus areas of the Public Health Law Center, including commercial tobacco control and healthy eating. Some cases are relevant to cross-cutting issues that affect public health, such as preemption and First Amendment considerations. The Public Health Law Center has supported public health goals as an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, by filing briefs (included here) with relevant information that the court may choose to consider. You can read more about the Function and Role of Amicus Briefs in Public Health Litigation.
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David Schuman v. Greenbelt Homes, Inc., No. 2020, Md. Ct. Spec. App. (2012)

The legal issue in this case is whether the Circuit Court erred (1) in denying Appellant’s motion for a preliminary injunction based on a finding that Appellant had only demonstrated that secondhand smoke, a known carcinogen, was an “offensive odor” and therefore not a nuisance; (2) in requiring “medical evidence demonstrating an unfavorable health condition” or “materially diminished property value” before determining the secondhand smoke to be a nuisance warranting the granting of a preliminary injunction; and (3) in applying the deferential “business judgment rule” in the context of a residential common interest community as opposed to the “reasonableness” standard.

State

Maryland

Most Recent Activity

Status

Pending

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 Activity

Status

Pending

U.S. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. (1999)

After the landmark decision holding major tobacco companies liable for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), the tobacco industry attempted to vacate the remedies imposed by the court.

State

Washington D.C.

Most Recent Activity

Status

Resolved

Bartec, Inc. v. Theodore Wymsylo, Ohio Dep’t of Health, et al., 970 N.E.2d 898 (Ohio 2012)

The legal issue in this case is whether the Ohio Department of Health’s enforcement of Ohio’s Smoke Free Workplace Act violates separation of power principles, impedes property rights, and is a proper use of police powers, and whether the Court of Appeals was correct in ruling that it was improper for the appellants to use a declaratory judgment action in their counter-claims to collaterally attack the ten final orders finding violations.

State

Ohio

Most Recent Activity

Status

Pending

Engle v. Liggett Group, 945 So.2d 1246 (Fla. 2006)

The legal issue in this case is whether a jury’s punitive damages award in a tobacco class action lawsuit was valid, when a ruling vacating the award relied on tobacco settlement agreements that barred their use in private lawsuits.

State

Florida

Most Recent Activity

Status

Pending