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Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
505 U.S. 504 (1992)



Rose Cipollone started smoking in 1942 and died of lung cancer in 1984. In 1965, Congress passed a law requiring cigarette manufacturers to place a warning on cigarette packages. In a section titled Preemption, the law stated that, other than the federal warning requirement, “[n]o statement relating to smoking and health” could be required on packages or in the advertising of cigarettes. The preemption provision was broadened in 1969 to state, “No requirement or prohibition based on smoking and health shall be imposed under State law with respect to the advertising or promotion of [properly labeled cigarettes].” Cipollone and her husband (plaintiffs) brought suit in federal district court against Liggett Group, Inc. and other cigarette manufacturers (defendants) for failure to warn, among other claims. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that the claims were preempted by the federal law. The trial court held that the claims were not preempted. The court of appeals held that some claims were preempted and remanded the case. On remand, the trial court held that all claims arising after the 1965 act were preempted. After a trial, the jury found the defendants liable on some claims preceding the 1965 act, but declined to award Cipollone's estate damages because of her own responsibility for her injuries. Cipollone's husband was awarded damages. After Cipollone's husband died, the Cipollones' son was substituted as plaintiff on behalf of their estates. Both parties appealed to the court of appeals, which affirmed the trial court's preemption decision. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on the preemption issue.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

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