Access to Courts & Court Remedies

Primarily through our appellate litigation, Public Citizen works to preserve individuals’ access to the courts and to court remedies. Our work in this area ranges from appellate and Supreme Court cases addressing the right to court-awarded attorney fees, to cases addressing the right to be in state or in federal court, to cases addressing whether consumers have a right to be in court at all.

Particularly noteworthy is our work to defeat corporate "preemption" arguments. Public Citizen believes that tort law is rightly a matter of state, not federal, concern and that, absent an express congressional determination to the contrary, states should remain free to compensate tort plaintiffs as they deem appropriate. With this principle in mind, our Litigation Group, since the early 1990s, has been a leader in fighting against the argument that federal regulation bars, or "preempts," state-law claims seeking damages for injuries caused by consumer products. Although defendants most frequently assert the preemption defense in product liability and deceptive marketing practices cases, it is also raised in other areas, such as employment cases.

Read about the broad scope of our efforts to preserve access to courts and court remedies, categorized in six topics:

  • Attorney fees
  • Choice of forum
  • Federal Jurisdiction and Appellate Jurisdiction
  • Mandatory Arbitration
  • Preemption
  • Qualified Immunity and Sovereign Immunity
  • Scope of Statutory Rights and Remedies

To read about our cases in this area, click here.