Cangemi v. United States, No. 12–CV–3989(JS)(WDW).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
Writing for the CourtSEYBERT
Citation939 F.Supp.2d 188
PartiesThomas CANGEMI, Jodi Cangemi, Mariann Coleman, Francis J. Devito, Lynn R. Devito, Leon Kircik, Elizabeth Kircik, Carol C. Lang, Terry S. Bienstock, Daniel Livingston, Victoria Livingston, Robin Racanelli, James E. Ritterhoff, Gale H. Ritterhoff, Elsie V. Thompson Trust, John Tomitz, and Thelma Weinberg Trustee of the Thelma Weinberg Revocable Living Trust, Plaintiffs, v. The UNITED STATES of America; The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Col. John R. Boule II, individually and in his official capacity; The Town of East Hampton; William J. Wilkinson, individually and in his official capacity; County of Suffolk; The State of New York; Joe Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and Cesar A. Perales, Secretary of the New York State Department of State, Defendants.
Decision Date29 March 2013
Docket NumberNo. 12–CV–3989(JS)(WDW).

939 F.Supp.2d 188

Thomas CANGEMI, Jodi Cangemi, Mariann Coleman, Francis J. Devito, Lynn R. Devito, Leon Kircik, Elizabeth Kircik, Carol C. Lang, Terry S. Bienstock, Daniel Livingston, Victoria Livingston, Robin Racanelli, James E. Ritterhoff, Gale H. Ritterhoff, Elsie V. Thompson Trust, John Tomitz, and Thelma Weinberg Trustee of the Thelma Weinberg Revocable Living Trust, Plaintiffs,
v.
The UNITED STATES of America; The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Col. John R. Boule II, individually and in his official capacity; The Town of East Hampton; William J. Wilkinson, individually and in his official capacity; County of Suffolk; The State of New York; Joe Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and Cesar A. Perales, Secretary of the New York State Department of State, Defendants.

No. 12–CV–3989(JS)(WDW).

United States District Court,
E.D. New York.

March 29, 2013.


[939 F.Supp.2d 192]


Jonathan Halsby Sinnreich, Esq., Timothy F. Hill, Esq., Sinnreich Kosakoff &

[939 F.Supp.2d 193]

Messina L.L.P., Central Islip, NY, for Plaintiffs.

Vincent Lipari, Esq., United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York, Central Islip, NY, for Defendant The U.S.A., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Boule.


Anthony F. Cardoso, Esq., Steven C. Stern, Esq., Sokoloff Stern L.L.P., Carle Place, NY, for Defendant Town of East Hampton and Wilkinson.

Daniel A. Bartoldus, Esq., Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles & Kaufman, L.L.P., Melville, NY, for Defendant Suffolk County.

Gregory J. Nolan, Esq., N.Y.S. Office of the Attorney General, Environmental Protection Bureau, New York, NY, for Defendant New York State, Martens, and Perales.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

SEYBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Thomas Cangemi, Jodi Cangemi, Mariann Coleman, Francis J. Devito, Lynn R. Devito, Leon Kircik, Elizabeth Kircik, Carol C. Lang, Terry S. Bienstock, Daniel Livingston, Victoria Livingston, Robin Racanelli, James E. Ritterhoff, Gale H. Ritterhoff 1, Elise V. Thompson Trust, John Tomitz, and Thelma Weinberg as Trustee of the Thelma Weinberg revocable living trust (collectively “Plaintiffs”) bring this suit against the United States of America; the United States Army Corps of Engineers; Col. John R. Boule II, individually and in his official capacity; the Town of East Hampton; William J. Wilkinson, individually and in his official capacity; the County of Suffolk; the State of New York; Joe Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and Cesar A. Perales, Secretary of the New York State Department of State (collectively “Defendants”) to redress damage to Plaintiffs' real property that they allege has been caused by the Lake Montauk Harbor Jetties (the “Jetties”). Currently pending before the Court is a motion filed by the Town of East Hampton (the “Town”) and William J. Wilkinson (“Wilkinson” and together with the Town, the “Town Defendants”) to dismiss the Amended Complaint.2 Also pending before the Court is a motion filed by the State of New York (the “State”); Joe Martens (“Martens”), Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and Cesar A. Perales (“Perales”), Secretary of State, New York State Department of State (collectively the “State Defendants”) to dismiss this action in its entirety as against them. For the following reasons, the Town Defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART; the State Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND
I. Factual Background3

Plaintiffs originally commenced this action in the Southern District of New York on June 14, 2012. (Docket Entry 1.) Thereafter, the parties stipulated to transfer the action to this Court. (Docket Entry 8.)

[939 F.Supp.2d 194]

Plaintiffs own waterfront property located on Soundview Drive and Captain Kidd's Path in Montauk, New York, just west of the Jetties in Lake Montauk Harbor.4 (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.)

Private parties first constructed jetties in the area in the 1920s. ( Id. ¶ 41.) These jetties quickly fell into disrepair, however. Thus, in or about 1939, at the Town's request, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended to Congress a “repair and extension shoreward” of the Jetties. ( Id. ¶ 41–42.) To effectuate the project, “the Town obtained a conveyance of title to and over the Jetties and the land under Lake Montauk Harbor” in 1941. ( Id. ¶ 48.) The Town thereafter granted the federal government, or more specifically the Army Corps of Engineers, a permanent easement over the land and the Jetties. ( Id. ¶ 49, 54.) As part of their agreement, the Town also “assured the United States of America that [it] would: ‘Hold and save the United States free from claims for damages that may occur from the construction and maintenance’ of the improvements authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act.” ( Id. ¶ 52.) Despite this easement, the Town has always owned the land and Jetties, and retains a reversionary interest. ( Id. ¶ 50.)

The Army Corps of Engineers, “with the active assistance and cooperation of the Town,” then redesigned, enlarged, and reconstructed the Jetties, lengthening them from 700 feet on the west and 750 on the east to 981 feet and 1100 feet respectively. ( Id. ¶ 42.)

In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining the navigation channel that connects Lake Montauk Harbor to nearby Block Island Sound. Pursuant to the Rivers and Harbors Act of March 2, 1945, the Army Corps of Engineers is authorized and directed to perform periodic dredging in order to maintain the channel. ( Id. ¶¶ 54–55.) The existing federal project at Lake Montauk Harbor provides for a channel 12 feet deep and 150 feet wide, along with other specifications. ( Id. ¶ 56.)

Plaintiffs allege that the Jetties have created and continuously cause an interruption in the natural east-to-west littoral movement of sand along the beaches in the vicinity of the Jetties. ( Id. ¶ 4.) Consequently, lands to the west of the Jetties, including Plaintiffs' properties, have “experienced persistent and substantial scouring and shoreline recession.” ( Id.) The Jetties, they allege, prevent the natural replenishment of sand onto their property and leave the properties vulnerable to further loss. ( Id. ¶¶ 5, 70.) The result has been that Plaintiffs have lost “substantial portions” of the upland portions of their properties and “suffered millions of dollars in damages and loss and injury to property.” ( Id. ¶¶ 77–78.) Lands to the east of the Jetties, however, including Town and County-owned beaches, have benefitted from the collection and build-up of sand. ( Id. ¶ 69.)

Despite these injurious conditions, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have been aware of the state of affairs but refuse to remedy it. For example, “[t]he Corps of Engineers has publicly acknowledged that, as a direct and proximate result of the construction and maintenance of the Jetties, the shoreline of plaintiffs' properties was already in ‘critical condition’ over a decade ago.” ( Id. ¶¶ 6, 84.) The Complaint goes on to allege that

[s]imilarly, the Town has repeatedly recognized the Jetties as being responsible for the dramatic loss of property west of

[939 F.Supp.2d 195]

the Jetties.... Indeed, the Town's former Environmental Protection Director, Larry Penny, stated publicly in January 2008 that “[o]n the west side of the jetty, which has houses on Soundview Avenue, the beach has disappeared and the dunes are being eaten away at a great rate” and predicted ... that “a big storm would probably put a few in the ocean.”

( Id. ¶ 7.) Additionally, “the State has admitted, acknowledged and conceded that the Jetties have caused and continue to cause severe shoreline recession in the areas west of the Jetties.” ( Id. ¶ 76.)


Plaintiffs also allege that the State Defendants have a statutory affirmative duty to actively participate in all federal programs affecting the coastal region in order to preserve and protect the coastal zone. ( Id. ¶¶ 59, 61.) Accordingly, in refusing to remedy the damage caused by the Jetties, “[t]he State has and continues to violate applicable law in failing to protect the shoreline.” ( Id. ¶ 65).

II. Procedural Background

On or about January 24, 2011, Plaintiffs commenced an action in New York State Supreme Court, County of Suffolk against many of the defendants named in the current action for public and private nuisance and deprivation of their federally protected constitutional and civil rights (the “State Court Action”). ( Id. ¶ 37.) The Town moved to dismiss the complaint. ( Id. ¶ 38.)

By order dated February 17, 2012, the Supreme Court granted the Town's motion and dismissed the action because Plaintiffs had failed to name the Army Corps of Engineers as a necessary party. ( Id. ¶ 39.) However, the court held that Plaintiffs had stated a cause for continuing public and private nuisance. (Am. Compl. Ex. A. at 3)

DISCUSSION

The Amended Complaint raises various causes of action against the State and Town Defendants (together, the “Moving Defendants”).5 As against the Town Defendants, Plaintiffs assert claims for negligence, public and private nuisance, unjust enrichment, denial of due process, denial of equal protection, appropriation of resource, trespass, and federal and state takings. As against the State Defendants, the Amended Complaint does not assert any specific counts, but rather includes the State Defendants in their requests for injunctive and declaratory relief against all Defendants.

The Court will first address the applicable legal standards before addressing the State Defendants' motion, followed by that of the Town Defendants.

I. Legal StandardsA. Legal Standard of a Rule 12(b)(1) Motion

“A case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) when the district court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate it.” Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir.2000). In resolving a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
18 practice notes
  • Town of Islip v. Datre, No. 16–CV–2156
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 28, 2017
    ...Under New York law, "[t]he elements for public and private nuisance are generally the same." Cangemi v. United States , 939 F.Supp.2d 188, 205 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). To state a claim for private nuisance, "a plaintiff must allege: ‘(1) an interference substantial in nature; (2) int......
  • Fresh Air for the Eastside, Inc. v. Waste Mgmt. of N.Y., L.L.C., 6:18-CV-06588-EAW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • September 16, 2019
    ...it is whether Plaintiffs have alleged an injury different in kind from the community at large." Cangemi v. United States , 939 F. Supp. 2d 188, 206 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). While Plaintiffs have alleged like injuries amongst each other, this harm is 405 F.Supp.3d 444 distinct from the deprivat......
  • Macintyre v. Moore, 6:15-CV-06660 EAW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • September 28, 2018
    ...were not required to satisfy the notice of claim requirements of General Municipal Law § 50-e. See Cangemi v. United States , 939 F.Supp.2d 188, 201 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (stating that a notice of claim "is not necessary for equitable claims, such as unjust enrichment"); see also Mattea......
  • Davies v. S.A. Dunn & Co., 530994, 531613
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • October 21, 2021
    ...for the Eastside, Inc. v. Waste Management of New York, LLC, 405 F. Supp. 3d 408, 443–444 [W.D. N.Y.2019] ; Cangemi v. United States, 939 F. Supp. 2d 188, 206 [E.D. N.Y.2013] ; Iannucci v. City of New York, 2006 WL 1026432, *4 [E.D. N.Y.2006] ).The New York Court of Appeals, however, has ta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Town of Islip v. Datre, No. 16–CV–2156
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 28, 2017
    ...Under New York law, "[t]he elements for public and private nuisance are generally the same." Cangemi v. United States , 939 F.Supp.2d 188, 205 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). To state a claim for private nuisance, "a plaintiff must allege: ‘(1) an interference substantial in nature; (2) int......
  • Fresh Air for the Eastside, Inc. v. Waste Mgmt. of N.Y., L.L.C., 6:18-CV-06588-EAW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • September 16, 2019
    ...it is whether Plaintiffs have alleged an injury different in kind from the community at large." Cangemi v. United States , 939 F. Supp. 2d 188, 206 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). While Plaintiffs have alleged like injuries amongst each other, this harm is 405 F.Supp.3d 444 distinct from the deprivat......
  • Macintyre v. Moore, 6:15-CV-06660 EAW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • September 28, 2018
    ...were not required to satisfy the notice of claim requirements of General Municipal Law § 50-e. See Cangemi v. United States , 939 F.Supp.2d 188, 201 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (stating that a notice of claim "is not necessary for equitable claims, such as unjust enrichment"); see also Mattea......
  • Davies v. S.A. Dunn & Co., 530994, 531613
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • October 21, 2021
    ...for the Eastside, Inc. v. Waste Management of New York, LLC, 405 F. Supp. 3d 408, 443–444 [W.D. N.Y.2019] ; Cangemi v. United States, 939 F. Supp. 2d 188, 206 [E.D. N.Y.2013] ; Iannucci v. City of New York, 2006 WL 1026432, *4 [E.D. N.Y.2006] ).The New York Court of Appeals, however, has ta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT