The United States Supreme Court handed down an opinion in the Cipollone case on June 24, 1992. Justice Stevens, writing for the majority, concluded that the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act preempted all tort claims against cigarette manufacturers based on failure to provide adequate warnings about the health risks of smoking. However, the Court also held that claims based on breach of express warranty, misrepresentation, and conspiracy were not preempted by the Act. Thus, although Cipollone represents a clear victory for tobacco companies, it also leaves the door open for future litigation. The first part of this Article will discuss the concept of federal preemption. The second part will examine various theories of statutory interpretation proposed by members of the Court. This portion of the Article will also evaluate the Court's treatment of the preemption issue in Cipollone. Finally, the third part will consider the effect of the Cipollone decision on other product liability claims.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Richard C. Ausness, The Impact of the Cipollone Case on Federal Preemption Law, 14 J. Products & Toxics Liability 1 (1993).