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NEW YORK STATE AUTO. DEALERS ASSN. v. NEW YORK STA

July 10, 1993

THE NEW YORK STATE AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION, SYRACUSE AUTO DEALERS ASSOCIATION, INC., ROCHESTER AUTO DEALERS ASSOCIATION, INC., NIAGARA FRONTIER AUTO DEALERS ASSOCIATION, INC., and CAPITAL REGION AUTO DEALERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION and THOMAS C. JORLING, Commissioner, Defendants.


McAvoy


The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS J. MCAVOY

Plaintiffs challenge the new motor vehicle emission regulations for model year 1994 vehicles ("1994 standards") contained at 6 N.Y.C.R.R. Part 218 ("Part 218 Regulations"), which were adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Like the plaintiffs in MVMA v. Jorling, 92-CV-869 (McAvoy, C.J.), the instant plaintiffs allege that DEC's adoption of the Part 218 Regulations violates § 177 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7507. *fn1"

 The complaint contains two causes of action. In their first cause of action, plaintiffs allege that the 1994 standards adopted by DEC are not identical to the California standards for which a waiver has been granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In their second cause of action, plaintiffs allege that in adopting the 1994 standards DEC failed to comply with the two year leadtime requirement of § 177. Presently before the court is plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Plaintiffs contend that there is no genuine issue of material fact and therefore that judgment in their favor is proper on both counts in the complaint.

 Defendants have opposed plaintiffs' summary judgment motion. However, they have also filed a cross-motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), or in the alternative for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Defendants' first argument is that plaintiffs lack standing, and therefore that the court lacks jurisdiction to consider the merits of the complaint. In the alternative, defendants argue that: (a) plaintiffs' action should be barred by the doctrine of laches because they have unreasonably delayed in asserting their claim; (b) the complaint fails to state a claim for relief under § 177 of the Clean Air Act; and (c) summary judgment should be granted against plaintiffs.

 The court heard oral argument on this matter on July 2, 1993 in Albany, New York. Now, having considered the the arguments of the parties, the court grants defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). For the reasons discussed below, the court concludes that plaintiffs lack standing to assert the claims contained in the complaint, and that the court therefore lacks jurisdiction. Consequently, the remaining arguments presented by the instant motions cannot be considered.

 I

 DEC has adopted two sets of California's new motor vehicle emission standards pursuant to § 177 of the Clean Air Act. Under this regulatory scheme, only those new motor vehicles which comply with the applicable emission standards contained in the Part 218 Regulations may be registered in the State of New York. Therefore, new motor vehicles which are designed to comply with the less stringent emission standards established by the EPA ("the federal standards") may not be registered in New York.

 II

 Plaintiff New York State Automobile Dealers Association (NYSADA) is a not-for-profit association which represents approximately 1400 auto dealers in the State. Plaintiffs Syracuse Automobile Dealers Associations (SADA), Rochester Automobile Dealers Association (RADA), Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association (NFADA), and Capital Region Automobile Dealers Association (CRADA) are all corporations organized by regional auto dealers for the purpose of, inter alia, advancing the interests of their members in judicial proceedings. In their complaint, plaintiffs allege that when CARB adopted the LEV/CF Program it modified and supplemented the model year 1994 standards, providing for, inter alia, alternative certification between pre-LEV and LEV standards. They argue that the Part 218 Regulations concerning the 1994 model year are therefore not identical to the California standards for that model year. Furthermore, they allege that the re-adoption of the standards for the 1994 model year on April 28, 1992 violates the two year leadtime provision of § 177. Finally, it is alleged in the complaint that plaintiffs will suffer immediate and irreparable injury as a direct result of the enforcement of the model year 1994 emission standards.

 As alleged in the complaint, and explained in the affidavit of Norma Sharpe, Executive Vice-President of NYSADA, automobile manufacturers are currently demanding that plaintiffs' members place their orders for the 1994 model year. (Complaint at P 17; Sharpe Affidavit at P 14). Accordingly, plaintiffs' members must know whether to purchase vehicles which conform to the federal emission standards or the "California" standards adopted by DEC. (Id.). Therefore, they argue that the threat of harm is immediate. Since defendants have challenged plaintiffs' standing, however, it is important to understand how plaintiffs will allegedly be harmed.

 New York is the only state which has adopted the California standards for 1994; therefore, model year 1994 vehicles sold in states other than California and New York need only comply with the less stringent federal standards. If the 1994 standards are enforced in New York, plaintiffs' members will only be permitted to sell California certified vehicles for registration in New York. (Complaint at PP 18-19). It is alleged in the complaint that because plaintiffs' members rely on their ability to trade with out-of-state dealers, the enforcement of the 1994 standards will preclude them from satisfying consumer demand for a particular vehicle by trading for such a vehicle with an out-of-state dealer. (Id.). Plaintiffs further allege that California certified vehicles are more expensive than federally certified vehicles, and therefore enforcement of the 1994 standards will place their members at a competitive disadvantage relative to out-of-state dealers. (Id. at P 20). Finally, it is alleged in the complaint, upon information and belief, that manufacturers will not be producing all models of their vehicles to meet the California standards, and therefore enforcement of the 1994 standards will limit the vehicle models which plaintiffs' members will be able to offer. (Id. at P 21). While plaintiffs' affidavits elaborate further on these three different injuries alleged in the complaint, for the purposes of the instant motion, the court will focus solely on the allegations in the complaint.

 III

 It is well settled that an association has standing to bring suit on behalf of its members when: (a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (b) the interests sought to be protected are germane to the organization's purpose; and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires participation from any of its members. See New York State National Organization for Women v. Terry, 886 F.2d 1339, 1348 (2d Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 495 U.S. 947, 110 S. Ct. 2206, 109 L. Ed. 2d 532 (1990). The complaint sufficiently establishes that the interests sought to be protected are germane to plaintiffs' purposes; and the state has not argued that the claims asserted require ...


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