Federal Preemption

Corporate wrongdoers sometimes argue that they can’t be sued, even if they acted outrageously, because a federal statue, regulation, or action preempts (wipes out) all lawsuits and state laws that could hold them accountable. They claim they are immune from suit and free to do harm while their victims have no remedy at all.

What Public Justice Is Doing

In a host of areas, state laws do a great job of protecting Americans from dangerous and defective products, deceptive and predatory lending, and a host of other illegal and harmful corporate conduct.

Unfortunately, many corporations who break important state laws and harm people with their illegal actions try to argue that federal laws that do NOT protect Americans as well (or at all) completely eliminate injury victims’ right to a day in court for violation of state laws. This corporate argument is for “federal preemption” – that federal laws wipe away and override state laws, even when that means that the injured individuals get no remedy at all.

At Public Justice, we’ve fought federal preemption in dozens of cases, in federal and state courts throughout the United States, and in several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. We have won a significant number of cases where courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have rejected overly broad claims of federal preemption by corporations that broke important state laws.

We have helped defeat preemption across the country in cases involving unsafe cars and boats, pesticides, drugs and medical devices, HMOs, banks, mortgage brokers, phone companies and more.

For thirty-five years, through litigation and education, we have been fighting federal preemption and preserving access to justice throughout the federal and state court systems.

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