De Russis Vito Nicola, et al. v. U.S.L. RM/4, et al.
During an action seeking damages for harm caused by passive smoking in a hospital, post office, and restaurant, the Magistrate of Rome petitioned the Constitutional Court to determine whether a tobacco control law and the opinion of the Council of State violated the Constitution insofar as the law or opinion clarifying the law: 1) prohibited smoking within wards of hospitals but failed to address smoking elsewhere within hospitals; 2) prohibited smoking in educational facilities and places frequented by transport services but allowed smoking in public postal service facilities; 3) failed to ban smoking in restaurants; and 4) limited the applicability of the law to cases in which several people meet in a public place for a fixed time and a permitted purpose. The Court held that the constitutional question was inadmissible, finding that the question was irrelevant to the underlying civil suit because the plaintiffs' claim for damages could be derived only from the Constitution's provision protecting the right to health in conjunction with the obligation to pay for damages under the Civil Code. The Court also found the constitutional question to be irrelevant because, were the court to grant the petitioner's request, the defendants still could not be held liable for failing to perform a legal duty that did not exist or was not knowable at the time of the alleged infraction.