Public Nuisance Expansion and Litigation


Lawyers have expanded public nuisance legal theory such that merely selling an everyday product can create virtually unlimited liability, and they sue companies for allegedly causing various societal harms. Traditional public nuisances include a person’s use of land in a manner that creates local disturbances. Today’s public nuisance lawsuits have evolved far from the legal theory’s original intent, and now include: COVID-19, opioids, climate change, environmental and plastic cleanups, and e-cigarettes and vaping. Learn more about the expansion of public nuisance law.

ATRA's Position:

ATRA supports implementation of sunshine laws with regard to state and local governments’ hiring of outside contingency-fee attorneys as well as legislation that requires public nuisance lawsuits to be grounded in disputes over real property.

Opposition Opinion:

Industries must be held financially responsible for broad social harms that can be linked to their products.