United States District Court, S.D. New York
June 13, 2005.
GERSH KORSINSKY, Plaintiff,
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENNY CHIN, District Judge
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.
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
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.
Defendants' motions are granted and the complaint is dismissed
in its entirety, with prejudice.
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