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Cipollone v. Liggett Group

Supreme Court of the United States

October 8, 1991, Argued ; June 24, 1992, Decided

No. 90-1038

Opinion

 [*508]  [***417]  [**2613]    JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Parts V and VI.

 ] "WARNING: THE SURGEON GENERAL HAS DETERMINED THAT CIGARETTE SMOKING IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH." A federal statute enacted in 1969 requires that warning (or a variation thereof) to appear in a conspicuous place on every package of cigarettes sold in the United States. 2 The questions presented to us by this case are whether that statute, or its 1965  [***418]  predecessor which required a less alarming label, pre-empted petitioner's common-law claims against respondent cigarette manufacturers.

 [****9]  Petitioner is the son of Rose Cipollone, who began smoking in 1942 and who died of lung cancer in 1984. He claims that respondents are responsible for Rose Cipollone's death because they breached express warranties contained in their advertising, because they failed to warn consumers about the hazards of smoking, because they fraudulently misrepresented those hazards to consumers, and because they conspired to deprive the public of medical and scientific information about smoking. The Court of Appeals held that petitioner's state-law claims were pre-empted by federal statutes, 893 F.2d 541 (CA3 1990), and other courts have agreed with that analysis. 3 The highest court of the State of New Jersey, however, has held that the federal statutes  [*509]  did not pre-empt similar common-law claims. 4 Because of the manifest importance of the issue, we granted certiorari to resolve the conflict, 499 U.S. 935 (1991). We now reverse in part and affirm in part.

 [****10]  [**2614]   I

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505 U.S. 504 *; 112 S. Ct. 2608 **; 120 L. Ed. 2d 407 ***; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 4365 ****; 60 U.S.L.W. 4703; 92 Cal. Daily Op. Service 5517; 92 Daily Journal DAR 8688; 17 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 1087; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P13,199; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 589

THOMAS CIPOLLONE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF ROSE D. CIPOLLONE, PETITIONER v. LIGGETT GROUP, INC., ET AL.

Prior History:  [****1]  ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.

Disposition: 893 F. 2d 541, reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded.

CORE TERMS

pre-emption, pre-empted, advertising, common-law, smoking, cigarettes, state law, warning, plurality, regulations, action for damages, manufacturer, promotion, provisions, express warranty, state-law, positive enactment, cigarette smoking, respondents', Tobacco, labeled, claim for damages, common law, failure-to-warn, packages, federal law, consumers, mandated, cigarette labeling, misrepresentation

Antitrust & Trade Law, Consumer Protection, Tobacco Products, Federal Cigarette Labeling & Advertising Act, General Overview, Communications Law, Regulated Practices, Content Regulation, Advertising, Public Enforcement, US Federal Trade Commission Actions, State Regulation, Regulated Entities, Cable Systems, US Federal Communications Commission Jurisdiction, Business & Corporate Compliance, Computer & Internet Law, Privacy & Security, US Federal Trade Commission, Regulators, US Federal Communications Commission, Jurisdiction, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, Federal Preemption, Governments, Federal Government, US Congress, Supreme Law of the Land, Legislation, Interpretation, Civil Procedure, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Police Powers, Torts, Products Liability, Types of Defects, Marketing & Warning Defects, Elements, Causation, Contracts Law, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Express Warranties, Commercial Law (UCC), Contract Provisions, Warranties, Contract Terms, Contracts Law, Sales of Goods, Breach, Breach of Warranty, Theories of Liability, Types of Contracts, Deceptive Labeling & Packaging, Governments, Agriculture & Food, Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Nondisclosure, Business Torts, Concerted Action, Civil Conspiracy, False Advertising