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

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

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

American Meat Institute v. United States Department of Agriculture (U.S. District Ct., D.C. 2014)

The legal issue in this case is what standard of First Amendment review applies to compelled disclosures of factual information that the government requires for reasons other than consumer deception.

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

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

Jerry Beeman and Pharmacy Services vs. Anthem Prescription Management (2013)

The legal issue in this case is whether the Free Speech Clause of the California Constitution extends so far into the ordinary business of government as to forbid regulation of basic economic activity whenever that activity happens to involve language or information, including the enactment of a statute that requires the gathering and mailing of unadorned statistical data.

State: California
Most Recent Decision: 2013
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

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