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Haines v. City of New York

Court of Appeals of New York
364 N.E.2d 820 (1977)


Facts

The City of New York (defendant) contracted with neighborhood citizens whereby New York agreed to construct a sewage system and treatment plant. The agreement required the city to extend the sewer lines when “necessitated by future growth and building constructions of the respective communities.” Over several years, the flow through the plant increased to the point where it was operating well beyond its capacity and excess flow was inadequately treated. Haines (plaintiff) owned an undeveloped tract of land on which he wished to construct residences, and he applied to the city for permission to connect these houses to the sewage lines. The city denied him, asserting that under the contract it was not obligated to expand the plant to increase its capacity. Haines sought declaratory and injunctive relief, maintaining that the contract was perpetual in duration and obligated the city to expand the plant or build a new one.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gabrielli, J.)

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