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United States v. New York, City of

ELR Citation: 22 ELR 21506
Nos. No. 92-6074, 972 F.2d 464/(2d Cir., 08/11/1992)

The court holds that a municipal taxpayer has standing to challenge municipal expenditures as unlawful, even though there is no likelihood that resulting savings will inure to the benefit of the taxpayer. New York City, in order to meet the requirements of its federal consent decree under the Ocean Dumping Ban Act chose to enter into noncompetitive sludge removal contracts. The court first holds that the taxpayer's state proceeding was properly removed to federal court under the All Writs Act since the city's ability to comply with the consent decree was dependent upon the outcome of the action, and because the issues raised were inextricably linked with the establishment of an interim land-based sludge management plan. The court next holds that municipal taxpayers have taxpayer standing because, unlike federal taxpayers, their interest in municipal spending is sufficiently direct that they suffer concrete injury when such expenditures are made unlawfully. On the merits, the court holds that the city lawfully entered into noncompetitive sludge removal contracts to effect the land-based management plan. Although the city's ordinance requires competitive bidding on city contracts, it contains a "special case" exception that states that competitive bidding is not mandatory where the city decides that an evaluation of competing proposals demands a balancing of several factors. The court holds that the challenged sludge removal contracts fall under this exception.

Counsel for Petitioner-Appellants
S. Mac Gutman
Gutman & Gutman
108-18 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills NY 11375
(718) 268-1282

Counsel for Respondent-Appellee
Alvin K. Hellerstein
Stroock, Stroock & Lavan
Seven Hanover Sq., New York NY 10004
(212) 806-5400

Paul A. Winick
Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges
330 Madison Ave., Ste. 1100, New York NY 10017
(212) 297-3200

Counsel for Appellee
Richard J. Weisberg, Ass't Regional Counsel
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M St. SW, Washington DC 20460
(202) 260-2090

Before Lumbard and Van Graafeiland, JJ.