Litigation Tracker

Litigation is an important tool for both defending and advancing public health policy. Below you will find 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. Additionally, we have included some cases relevant to cross-cutting issues that affect public health, such as preemption and First Amendment considerations.
 
In some of the cases included here, the Public Health Law Center has supported public health goals as an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, by filing briefs with relevant information that the court might wish to consider in addition to information presented by the litigants. You can read more about the Function and Role of Amicus Briefs in Public Health Litigation.
 
This tool was previously known as the Amicus Briefs Database. This modified resource will reflect new content and the expansion of previous content.

Litigation Tracker

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company et al. v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration et al., No. 6:20-cv-00176 (E.D. Tex. 2020)

Shortly after the FDA issued its new graphic warning label rule in the March 18, 2020 Federal Register, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and several other manufacturers, distributors, and retailers filed suit against the FDA in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

State: Texas
Most Recent Decision: 2020
Status: Pending

American Academy of Pediatrics et al., v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration et al. (2018)

Public health groups successfully challenged FDA’s 2017 guidance indefinitely extending premarket review deadlines. FDA issued updated guidance reflecting an expedited schedule. The industry appealed, but the district court’s ruling was upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 4, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the deadline to submit premarket review applications was extended to September 9, 2020.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2020
Status: Pending

Big Time Vapes, Inc., et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2019)

An e-cigarette manufacturer and trade association challenged the deeming rule on constitutional grounds.

State: Mississippi
Most Recent Decision: 2020
Status: Resolved

American Academy of Pediatrics v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2016)

Public health groups sued the FDA to compel the agency to require graphic warning labels on cigarette packages and advertisements. The public health groups won. FDA appealed, but dropped the appeal after it issued a new graphic warning rule in March, 2020.

State: Massachusetts
Most Recent Decision: 2020
Status: Resolved

Cyclops Vapor 2, et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016)

E-Cigarette manufacturers and distributors challenge the deeming rule under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the First Amendment.

State: Alabama
Most Recent Decision: 2020
Status: Resolved

NicoPure Labs LLC v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2016)

The Tobacco Control Act’s premarket authorization pathway does not violate the APA. Additionally, neither the pre-marketing authorization requirement applicable to modified risk products nor the free sample ban violate the First Amendment.

State: Washington D.C.
Most Recent Decision: 2019
Status: Resolved

Jennifer Hochstatter v. John Arntz, Superior Ct. of State of Calif., County of San Francisco, No. CPF-19-516813 (2019)

The legal issue in this case is whether San Francisco’s ballot measure, Proposition C – supported by JUUL Labs and purportedly a youth access law – would  allow flavored e-cigarettes back onto store shelves in San Francisco, overturning city laws passed in 2019 and 2017 that were intended to ban e-cigarettes not regulated by the FDA and to keep products like Juul’s mango and cucumber nicotine pods out of the hands of teens.

State: California
Most Recent Decision: 2019
Status: Pending

Cumberland Farms v. Town of Yarmouth Board of Health, No 2019-P-0020, Mass. Appeals Ct. (2019)

The legal issue in this case is whether the Town of Yarmouth’s multi-step review process based on smelling, tasting, and physically examining tobacco products, including “concept flavors” such as Jazz, meets the evidentiary standard required by law to identify these products as flavored.

State: Massachusetts
Most Recent Decision: 2019
Status: Pending