July 3, 2019

On June 19, 2019 the Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed the Westchester County Supreme Court decision, holding that the plaintiff In the Matter of American Massage Therapy Association, et al., v. Town of Greenburgh, et al., 2019 NY Slip Op 04934 (Decided June 19, 2019), did not have standing to sue the Town.

The petitioners/plaintiffs, the American Massage Therapy Association, a professional organization for massage therapists, and Domanic Guzman, a licensed massage therapist working as a solo practitioner, commenced the action, alleging that the Town of Greenburgh’s local law, requiring a license for massage establishments, was preempted by state law and violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act (ECL art 8) and the Open Meetings Law (Public Officers Law art 7).   The Town moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.

The Court recounted the relevant law on standing as follows: “A plaintiff, in order to have standing in a particular dispute, must demonstrate an injury in fact that falls within the relevant zone of interests sought to be protected by law” (Caprer v Nussbaum, 36 AD3d at 183).  Additionally, to demonstrate an “injury in fact,” a plaintiff must “establish that he or she will actually be harmed by the challenge action, and that the injury is more than conjectural” (id.; see New York State Assn. of Nurse Anesthetists v Novello, 2 NY3d 207, 211).

In this particular case, the Court essentially found that the Town’s local law does not apply to the Plaintiffs because the law exempts solo practitioners which comprise the American Massage Therapy Association.  The court also found that Plaintiff’s injuries were too speculative.

A copy of the decision can be found online:

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-second-department/2019/2016-11745.html

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