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November 21, 2015

Court of Appeals Finds Petitioners Have Standing in Painted Post Case

On November 19, 2015, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Petitioner John Marvin had standing in the case of Sierra Club v. Painted Post, 26 N.Y.3d 301 (2015). The decision overturned the ruling of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, which had dismissed the case on the ground that none of the petitioners had standing. The case now goes back to the Fourth Department to decide the substantive issues in the case regarding Painted Post's bulk water sales to a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company.

The Court of Appeals found that the Appellate Division's standing analysis "applied an overly restrictive analysis of the requirement to show harm 'different from that of the public at large.'" The Court of Appeals stated that an injury to a petitioner, while having to be different than the public at large, "need not be unique."

"Here, petitioner Marvin is not alleging an indirect, collateral effect from the increased train noise that will be experienced by the public at large, but rather a particularized harm that may also be inflicted upon others in the community who live near the tracks."

The Court concluded that Petitioner Marvin alleged injuries that are "real and different from the injury most members of the public face . . . . Thus, his allegation about train noise caused by the increased train traffic keeping him awake at night, . . , would be sufficient to confer standing."

The Court expressed concerned that applying the Appellate Division's reasoning "would effectively insulate the Village's actions from any review," and said this would "run afoul of our pronouncement that the standing rule should not be so restrictive as to avoid judicial review." The Court quoted with approval the statement of the US Supreme Court that, "[t]o deny standing to persons who are in fact injured simply because many others are also injured, would mean that the most injurious and widespread Government actions could be questioned by nobody." U.S. v S.C.R.A.P., 412 U.S. 669, 687-688 (1973).

Click here and here for our previous articles on the Trial Court and Appellate Division decisions in the case. I am working with attorney Richard Lippes from Buffalo to represent the Petitioners.

The papers in the case are posted here.

Posted by Rachel Treichler on 11/21/15, updated 04/06/16.

 

 

Copyright 2016, Rachel Treichler

 

   


About NY Water Law

New York Water Law covers legal developments relating to water usage in New York and in jurisdictions that may be influential in New York. The author, Rachel Treichler, practices law in the Finger Lakes region.
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