We at the Alaska Personal Injury Law Group have been closely following preemption litigation because the results are so central to consumer-based litigation. Today, we find hope in the news that the United States Supreme Court has rejected the claims by Philip Morris that federal regulation of tobacco companies preempted any state claims from being asserted against the company.
The case arose in Maine and asserted that the company had fraudulently misrepresented that its “light” cigarettes were safer. Essentially, today’s ruling refuses to immunize fraudulent statements by corporations and has reaffirmed the presumption in the law against preemption of state laws: “When addressing questions of express or implied preemption, we begin our analysis with the assumption that the historic police powers of the States are not to be superseded by the Federal Act unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress.” “Thus,” it continues, “when the text of a pre-emption clause is susceptible of more than one plausible reading, courts ordinarily accept the reading that disfavors preemption.”
Atria Group v. Good (pdf of opinion)