Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Cipollone (Plaintiff) sued the Defendant, the Liggett Group, Inc. (Defendant) on behalf of his deceased mother for various state common law claims because of her death from the hazards of smoking. The Defendant asserted that federal statutes preempted the claims.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal statutory law, which contains express preemptive language, may be interpreted to preempt some, but no all, state common-law claims.
Facts. The Plaintiff sued the Defendant a cigarette manufacturer for the death of his forty-year smoking mother, Rose. A 1969 federal statute required cigarette packages to contain a warning that the surgeon general has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous to one’s health and banned cigarette advertising from electronic communication mediums subject to the FCC’s jurisdiction. The statute also contained a preemption provision that stated, “No requirement or prohibition based on smoking and health shall be imposed under State law with respect to the advertising and promotion of any cigarettes the packages of which are labeled in conformity with the provisions of this Act.” The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) was presented with the issue of whether the federal statutes preempted the Plaintiff’s state common-law claims.
Issue. May the Supreme Court infer the scope of federal preemption beyond the express preemptive language contained in the federal statute?