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December 18, 2008

No Preemption of Deceptive Advertising Claims Against Cigarette Manufacturers

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that state-law-based claims for deceptive advertising brought by smokers of "light" or "low tar" cigarettes are not preempted by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act.  Writing for the majority in Altria Group v. Good, Justice Stevens concluded that federal law does not bar all state tort claims regarding cigarette advertising but more narrowly prohibits only state law claims that would require warning labels on cigarette packages that are different from the federally-required labels.

While several commentators have expressed surprise at the ruling because it does not serve to protect business interests against state tort claims, it is in accord with the court's fairly narrow approach to analyzing preemption issues. 

JDP

December 18, 2008 | Permalink

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