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Society of Plastics Indus. v. County of Suffolk – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Society of Plastics Indus. v. County of Suffolk (77 NY2d 761, 573 N.E.2d 1034, 570 N.Y.S.2d 778 [1991], the Court recognized that the Legislature did not intend every person or citizen to have the right to sue to compel SEQRA compliance (id. at 770).

Rather, in order to have standing, a party must demonstrate an "injury in fact"--an actual legal stake in the matter being adjudicated--which falls within the "zone of interests, or concerns, sought to be promoted or protected by the statutory provision under which the agency has acted" (id. at 772-773 ).

With particular reference to land use cases, we held that the injury must constitute a "special harm" such that the party would "suffer direct harm, injury that is in some way different from that of the public at large" (id. at 774).

In other words, the plaintiff must show a "direct interest in the administrative action challenged, different in kind or degree from the public at large" (id. at 775).