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Abstract

In a stunning trifecta, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of consumers and held that federal law did not preempt state consumer claims. The three cases concerned patients injured by drugs, smokers misled by false advertising, and borrowers victimized by predatory lending practices. These cases represent the latest battle in the ongoing war between consumer advocates and business entities over whether federal laws should be interpreted to erect barriers against state consumer protection laws.

Wyeth v. Levine raised the issue of whether approval of a drug by the F.D.A. preempts a state tort claim based on failure to warn. Altria Group, Inc. v. Good raised the question of whether the Federal Cigarette Labeling Act preempts a state fraud claim. Lastly, Cuomo v. Clearing House Ass'n raised the question of whether the National Bank Act preempted Eliot Spitzer from enforcing New York's fair lending laws against national banks. In each of these cases, theCourt found that the state claim was not preempted-a surprising result given that the Roberts Court had previously consistently found infavor of preemption.

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