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
Mahfoud Abdella v. Town of Johnston & LA Enterprises, No. PC-2018-0466, Providence, R.I. S.C. (2019)
The legal issue in this case is whether the Town of Johnston, Rhode Island, has the authority to enact an ordinance that removes flavored tobacco products from general stores and requires that they be sold in vape shops or smoking bans, and that prohibits tobacco retailers from accepting coupons or providing discounts for any tobacco product.
Abdul Khan v. Town of Middletown, and The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLC, C.A. No. NC-2017-0443 (2018)
The legal issue in this case is whether the Town of Middletown, Rhode Island, has the authority to enact science-based public health laws to protect its residents – particularly its youth – from addiction to tobacco products and the toll of tobacco-related disease and death.
The legal issue in this case is whether the Town of Barrington, Rhode Island, has the authority to enact science-based public health laws to protect its residents – particularly its youth – from addiction to tobacco products and the toll of tobacco-related disease and death.
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.
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.
The legal issue in this case is whether New York City’s sodium warning rule is a scientifically controversial, arbitrary and capricious, constitutionally invalid measure preempted by federal law, or whether the sodium warning is a scientifically sound, legally well-grounded measure representing a reasonable response to a public health crisis.
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.
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.
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