Worcester Creameries Corp. v. City of New York, 54 AD3d 87 (3d Dept 2008)

The firm represented a Delaware County milk processing facility in its successful effort to compel New York City (the “City”) to pay for regulatory upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant (“WWTP”) under the terms of the historic New York City Watershed (the “Watershed”) Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”). The plaintiff sought to increase the flow from its WWTP and upgrade the plant to comply with the City’s applicable Watershed regulations. When the City declined to pay all the costs associated with the upgrade, the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that, under the Watershed MOA, the City was required to pay all costs incurred to keep public and private WWTPs in compliance with the Watershed regulations, and that the obligation continued so long as the costs were necessitated by Watershed regulations that are stricter than their federal and state counterparts. In affirming the lower court’s issuance of the declaratory judgment, the Appellate Division, Third Department agreed with the plaintiffs that the term “regulatory upgrades” was to be construed expansively, and did not distinguish between public and private WWTPs. In so finding, the court rejected the City’s argument that its obligation to pay the operation and maintenance costs of a private WWTP was limited to 30 years under the terms of the MOA.