UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
STEWART PARK AND RESERVE COALITION,
INCORPORATED (SPARC); ORANGE COUNTY
FEDERATION OF SPORTSMENS CLUBS, INC.;
and SIERRA CLUB,
v. No. 00-CV-1606(RFT)
RODNEY E. SLATER, as United States Secretary of
Transportation; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION; KENNETH R. WYKLE, as
Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration;
HAROLD J. BROWN, as New York Division Administrator
of the Federal Highway Administration; FEDERAL
HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION; LOUIS R. TOMSON, as
Chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority; NEW
YORK STATE THRUWAY AUTHORITY; JOSEPH H.
BOARDMAN, as Commissioner of the New York State
Department of Transportation; and NEW YORK STATE
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
APPEARANCES: OF COUNSEL:
JOHN W. CAFFRY, ESQ.
Attorney for Plaintiffs
100 Bay Street
Glens Fall, New York 12801
HON. JOSEPH A. PAVONE JAMES C. WOODS, ESQ.
United States Attorney for the Assistant United States Attorney
Northern District of New York
Attorney for Federal Defendants
James T. Foley U.S. Courthouse
445 Broadway, Room 231
Albany, New York 12207-2924
HON. ELIOT SPITZER LISA M. BURIANEK, ESQ.
Attorney General for the Assistant Attorney General
State of New York
New York State Department of Law
Environmental Protection Bureau
Albany, New York 12224
RANDOLPH F. TREECE
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. § 4321, et seq., and
the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), N.Y. Envtl. Conserv. Law § 8-
101, et seq., plaintiffs brought this action challenging the sufficiency of a joint federal and state
environmental review regarding the proposed construction of an interstate highway exchange
between Interstate 84 (I-84") and Drury Lane as well as improvements to connecting roads to
facilitate access to Stewart International Airport (Stewart Airport) Plaintiffs also alleged that the
Federal Defendants violated transportation laws, including section 4(f) of the Department of
Transportation Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C. § 303, and 23 U.S.C. § 111. By memorandum-decision and
order dated September 30, 2002, the undersigned granted Defendants motion for summary
judgment and denied Plaintiffs cross-motion for summary judgment and entered judgment for
Defendants on all claims. See Stewart Park and Reserve Coalition v. Slater, No. 00CV1606, 2002
WL 31163861 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2002).1
1The factual background of this case is fully set forth in this decision, familiarity with which is presumed.
Presently pending is Plaintiffs motion for a stay of this Courts September 30, 2002
judgment and an order barring Defendants from proceeding with construction, destruction or any
further development regarding the interchange and Stewart Airport as well as a waiver of the
requirement of a supersedeas bond pursuant to Fed. R. App. Proc. 8(a). Docket Nos. 73-75.
Defendants oppose the motion. Docket Nos. 78-80, 83. Plaintiffs also seek a temporary restraining
order pending this Courts determination on their motion for a stay. Docket No. 81. For the reasons
that follow, Plaintiffs motion for a stay and an injuction pending their appeal to the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit is granted and their motion for a temporary restraining order is
denied as moot.
To determine whether a party is entitled to a stay pending appeal, the movant must
demonstrate: (1) a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) irreparable injury absent a stay; (3)
lack of injury to the other parties if a stay is granted; and (4) where the public interest lies. See
Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776-77 (1987); see also Mohammed v. Reno, 309 F.3d 95, __,
2002 WL 31388971, at *3 (2d Cir. Oct. 24, 2002).2 In support of their motion, Plaintiffs contend
2It is well settled that "preliminary injunctive relief is appropriate when the movant shows (a) irreparable harm and
(b) either (1) likelihood of success on the merits or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them
a fair ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting the preliminary
relief. International Dairy Foods Assn v. Amestoy, 92 F.3d 67, 70 (2d Cir. 1996). Since the Hilton factors also
consider the factors used in determining whether preliminary injunctive relief is appropriate, this decision considers
both the motion for a stay and for a preliminary injunction together.
that: (1) they will succeed on appeal because this Court erred in interpreting federal transportation
laws and excessively deferred to the agencies on the NEPA and SEQRA counts; (2) they will suffer
irreparable injury absent a stay because construction of the Stewart Airport and I-84 Interchange
prior to an appeal would render this action moot; (3) Defendants will not be injured if a stay were
granted because they have not taken substantial steps toward commencing construction; and (4) the
public would benefit from continued use of the land for recreational purposes.
In opposition to the motion, Defendants main contention is that Plaintiffs have not
demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits. Indeed, at first blush, it appears as if Plaintiffs
can only satisfy this first factor if the Court determines that the September 30, 2002 decision was in
error. Recently, however, the Second Circuit adopted the Sixth Circuits reasoning in evaluating the
four Hilton factors and held that [t]he probability of success that must be demonstrated is
inversely proportional to the amount of irreparable injury plaintiffs will suffer absent the stay.
Simply stated, more of one excuses less of the other. Mohammed, 2002 WL 31388971, at *4
(quoting Michigan Coalition of Radioactive Material Users, Inc. v. Griepentrog, 945 F.2d 150, 153
(6th Cir. 1991)). Here, absent a stay and injunctive relief, Defendants will likely proceed with the
planned construction of the I-84 Interchange and Stewart Airport. Tynan Aff. (Docket No. 79), ¶
10. It is evident that such construction will irreparably harm Plaintiffs and render this action moot.
In light of the nature of injury to Plaintiffs absent a stay, they do not need to demonstrate a high
likelihood of success on appeal.
On appeal, the Second Circuit will review the Courts September 30, 2002 decision de novo.
See Village of Grand View v. Skinner, 947 F.2d 651, 656 (2d Cir. 1991). Thus, Defendants
assertion that this Court made factual determinations that Plaintiffs cannot overcome on appeal
assumes too much. While the Court rejected Plaintiffs interpretation of federal law as well as their
experts statistics, the Second Circuits independent analysis of the administrative record could be
vastly different. In light of the nature of injury and the standard of review on appeal, Plaintiffs have
satisfied the first two factors of the Hilton test.
With respect to the injury to the Defendants if a stay were granted, Defendants assert that the
State of New York could lose approximately $15 million in savings. Specifically, the State has
accepted contract bids for the proposed construction. Tynan Aff., ¶ 5. The low bid was in the
amount of $42,568,837.00. Id. at ¶ 6. The highest of six bids was $58,629,011.00. Id. Pursuant to
the agreement, the low bidder may withdraw its bid. Id. at ¶ 7. Defendants contend that a stay may
prompt the low bidder to withdraw its bid, in which case, the State would award the contract to the
next lowest bidder. If this occurred, the State could lose a savings of up to $15 million. It is worth
noting that the State advertised for bidding in August 2002, and the bid opening was on September
12, 2002, prior to this Courts ruling on September 30, 2002. Id. at ¶ 5. Since Defendants began the
bidding process while litigation was ongoing, any injury incurred by the State was at its own doing.3
3Defendants also contend that the low bidder could be injured by fines if it does not
complete construction by October 2004. The low bidder is not a party to this motion and any injury
to this third-party is irrelevant for purposes of this analysis.
Thus, any injury to Defendants will not result from a stay, but from the States hastiness. Therefore,
Plaintiffs have established the third factor of the Hilton test.
With respect to the public interest factor, Plaintiffs assert that they satisfy this factor because
the public can continue to use Stewart Park for recreational purposes. Defendants contend that the
public interest is served by construction of better roads and improved access to Stewart Airport. In
essence, the parties are asking this Court to determine an issue long plaguing policymakers, i.e.,
open space versus development. Defendants, however, concede that the construction will not be
completed until October 2004; thus, the public cannot be served by the improved access to Stewart
Airport prior to any ruling by the Second Circuit. The public, however, can continue to use the open
space at least until the Second Circuits decision on the appeal. Therefore, under these
circumstances, the public is best served by granting the stay.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs have met the standard for a stay.4
4Defendants also contend that since Plaintiffs did not seek a preliminary injunction prior to
this Courts September 30, 2002 decision, there is no status quo that needs preserving. Defendants,
however, concede that construction is imminent, a factor that was not present throughout this
litigation. Therefore, Defendants contention is rejected.
Finally, Plaintiffs also seek a waiver of the supersedeas bond requirement. Plaintiffs have
failed to provide any analysis or case law explaining why they should not be required to post a bond.
In contrast, Defendants assert that a bond should be required because of the potential financial loss
to the State by the stay. Despite Plaintiffs failure to assert any argument on this issue, this Court
finds a bond is not required. First, one purpose of a supersedeas bond is to guarantee a partys
ability to satisfy a money judgment. See Cayuga Indian Nation of N.Y. v. Pataki, 188 F. Supp. 2d
223, 255 (N.D.N.Y. 2002). There is no money judgment at stake here. Further, as discussed above,
any financial injury suffered by the State is at its own hands.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs motion for a waiver of the supersedeas bond requirement is granted.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby
ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion for a stay of the Courts September 30, 2002 judgment
and for an injunction pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is
GRANTED; Defendants are enjoined from proceeding with construction, destruction or any further
development regarding the I-84 and I-87 Interchanges and Stewart Airport pending a decision on the
ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion to waive the supersedeas bond requirement is
GRANTED; and it is
ORDERED that Plaintiffs application for a temporary restraining order pending a decision
on their motion for a stay is DENIED as moot.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: November 21, 2002
Albany, New York
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE