Lack of Standing for Civic/Environmental/Public Interest Groups?

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I am researching cases where standing was denied to a civic, environmental or public interest group, that resulted in a negative impact to the community or environment.

I am focusing on New York cases, but nearby states and federal cases would be useful too. If any one has heard of, or been involved in, any cases like this, please post a reply.

Thank you!
Your request is far too vague. Lack of standing cases will only be helpful if you are in a similar position as the litigants in the case. There are various reasons why a group or person may be considered to lack "standing" required to bring a case in court.
vagueness in my request

Sorry about the vaguness. I am not very literate in this subject, I have not even applied to law school yet, but plan too in the next year or so. I have learned much since my first posting though. Thank you for responding, but I just wanted to let you know, you said

"Lack of standing cases will only be helpful if you are in a similar position as the litigants in the case"

I do not exactly know what you meant by this, but for the record, I am researching this because many environmental groups nation wide have recently been denied standing because the injuries (whether its tainted drinking water, higher taxes, overdevelopment, loss of recreation, endagered species, open space..... whatever) they, and the members they represent, have succumb to do not differ from the injuries suffered by the public at large.

This reasoning is dangerous. That means the Courts are telling us, if one person's drinking water has been tainted, he can sue, but if everyone's drinking water has been tainted, it's OK. MESSAGE TO THE POLLUTERS: MAKE SURE YOU RUIN EVERYONE'S WATER, SO YOU WON'T GET SUED.

The purpose of many of these groups is to protect the interest of the general public, hence the term"PUBLIC INTEREST". So if these groups don't have standing, and in many cases the govt. hasn't done anything about it, who does have standing???? When these groups are denied standing, sometimes the action they were trying to stop, or law they were trying to defeat, ends up hurting the environment Quite often these cases get thrown out without the judge even looking at the merits of the case.

I am researching these type of cases, on a local (New York State) regional (North East) and national level. I am at the begining phase of planning a large conference/seminar of this issue, specifically cases brought by enviro groups, that were denied standing, that resulted in a negative impact to the environment.

Any cases you or other forum readers know about that might pertain to this, please e-mail me ir post a reply.

Thanks again!
The law is similar to public nuisance -- you cannot simply sue another party if you aren't being harmed any differently than members of the general public. For example, you live in CA but want to sue a NY company for polluting waters around NY, then you haven't shown that you are suffering any other damages than those in general that affect the earth. However, you might be able to find people in NY that are directly affected so that you can bring a suit against the company under a variety of theories. One is public nuisance, which has a similar barrier of entry and cases on that topic might also lead you to where you are going. A classic case is one in which fisherman in the LI Sound are affected by pollution that kills the fish/crabs and destroys their business and livelihood. Thus, they have suffered a specific harm that the general public does not suffer.

The two most useful texts will probably be a law school casebook and text on Constitutional Law and Environmental Law. I used a casebook by Professor Philip Weinberg, an excellent book if you can find it.
Philip Weinberg text book

Thanks for then hint on the Weinberg text book. Actually, I think we have gotten Mr. Weinberg himself to help us out. Anyone else researching this topic should check out the Georgetown Law School site as well.

I understand the public nusscience issue, and it certain makes sense that fisherman from CA shouldn't be suing companies in CT that pollute LIS.

My research efforts started when I found that a recent case in NY brought by an drinking water protection based environmental group was denied standing. They were suing a golf course operator who was polluting the drinking water of some of the members of the environmental group. These members lived right above the contaminant plume and had private wells that were tainted.

The lower court judge said they didn't have standing because everyone in the neighborhood was being affected the same, so their suffering was no different than the general public.

I think this is streching the law to cater to local developers or something. Well, if you can't win something in a court of law, you can always try for the court of public opinion.

Thanks for your help, I really like this forum. I will be back again.
Lauren -- that's a very interesting set of facts. I can only wonder whether the hand of the lower court opinion might have been influenced by other political powers that be. One can also speculate about potential associations (even those within the court system) with a local golf/country club.

Professor Weinberg is a most distinguished legal professional in the area of environmental law, as well as being a magnanimous person. I hope things work out and definitely keep us informed as to what goes on with this case. :)
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