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KORSINSKY v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

United States District Court, S.D. New York


June 13, 2005.

GERSH KORSINSKY, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY et al., Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENNY CHIN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION

Pro se plaintiff Gersh Korsinsky brings this action against federal, state, and city agencies to compel them to take steps to ensure "a safe, reliable, sufficient water supply" and to protect "the health and well-being [of] natural resources held in trust by New York State." (Compl. ¶ 1). Defendants — the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection — move to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted and the complaint is dismissed in all respects, with prejudice. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

A. The Facts

  The pro se complaint is difficult to decipher. Construed liberally, the complaint alleges the following facts:

  Plaintiff resides in Brooklyn. (Id. ¶ 1). Defendants supply to the public water that is contaminated by, inter alia, contaminants from animals or humans, microbial contaminants, inorganic contaminants, pesticides and herbicides, and radioactive contaminants. The contamination poses a health risk to plaintiff and to "the public." (Id. ¶¶ 2, 3, 5, 7). There are available "practical, feasible and economically viable options," including a "new invention," that would ensure a safe, reliable, sufficient, and secure water supply. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 40-50). Defendants have failed to take advantage of these options, thereby contributing to the public health risk. (Id. p. 10).

  B. Prior Proceedings

  Plaintiff commenced this action on February 4, 2005. The complaint does not purport to seek money damages, but requests a permanent injunction enjoining each defendant "to eliminate its contribution to the public health risk by requiring it to eliminate the presence of contaminants" in water that pose a health risk. (Id. p. 10).

  The state and city defendants moved to dismiss on March 15, 2005. The federal defendants moved to dismiss on April 22, 2005. DISCUSSION

  The motions to dismiss are granted and the complaint is dismissed, for this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action because plaintiff lacks standing.

  The "case or controversy" requirement of Article III of the Constitution "obligates the federal courts to hear only suits in which the plaintiff has alleged some actual or threatened harm to him or herself, as a result of a `putatively illegal action.'" Leibovitz v. New York City Transit Auth., 252 F.3d 179, 184 (2d Cir. 2001) (quoting Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 617 (1973)). To meet the constitutional requirement of standing, a plaintiff must allege a sufficient personal stake in the outcome of the controversy "to ensure the presence of `that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends.'" Lee v. Bd. of Governors of Fed. Reserve Sys., 118 F.3d 905, 910 (2d Cir. 1997) (quoting Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204 (1962)). A plaintiff must allege and prove (1) injury in fact, i.e., injury that is concrete and particularized as well as actual or imminent and not just conjectural or hypothetical, (2) a causal connection between the injury and the defendant's wrongful action, and (3) the likelihood that the requested relief will redress the injury. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992).

  Here, plaintiff has failed to allege any concrete or particularized injury caused by defendants. Instead, he has alleged only a generalized harm to public health caused by defendants' purported failure to provide safe drinking water. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975) ("[W]hen the asserted harm is a `generalized grievance' shared in substantially equal measure by all or a large class of citizens, that harm alone normally does not warrant the exercise of jurisdiction."). Likewise, plaintiff has failed to allege any causal connection between his alleged injuries and any alleged wrongful conduct by defendants, nor has he alleged that his purported injuries are likely to be redressed by any relief this Court could order. Hence, plaintiff lacks standing to bring this action.

  Defendants have raised other meritorious arguments in support of their motions to dismiss. In light of plaintiff's lack of standing, I do not discuss them.

  CONCLUSION

  Defendants' motions are granted and the complaint is dismissed in its entirety, with prejudice.

  SO ORDERED.

20050613

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