Reducing Environmental Risk

N.Y. Navigation Law Sec. 176. Removal of prohibited discharges. Sections 7 – 8

7. (a) Nothing in this section is intended to preclude cleanup and removal by any person threatened by such discharges, who, as soon as is reasonably possible, coordinates and obtains approval for such actions with ongoing state or federal operations and appropriate state and federal authorities. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the liability of any contractor for such person, where such person obtains approval from appropriate state and federal authorities for such cleanup and removal, and the liability of any person providing services related to the cleanup or removal of a discharge, under contract with the department, for any injury to a person or property caused by or related to such services shall be limited to acts or omissions of the person during the course of performing such services which are shown to have been the result of negligence, gross negligence or reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, when (i) a verdict or decision in an action or claim for injury to a person or property caused by or related to such services is determined in favor of a claimant in an action involving a person performing such services and any other person or persons jointly liable, and (ii) the liability of the person performing such services is found to be fifty percent or less of the total liability assigned to all persons liable, and (iii) the liability of the person performing such services is not based on a finding of reckless disregard for the safety of others, or intentional misconduct, then the liability of the person performing such services to the claimant for loss relating to injury to property and for non-economic loss relating to injury to a person shall not exceed the equitable share of the person performing such services determined in accordance with the relative culpability of each person causing or contributing to the total liability for such losses; provided, however, that the culpable conduct of any person not a party to the action shall not be considered in determining any equitable share herein if the claimant proves that with due diligence the claimant was unable to obtain jurisdiction over such person in said action. As used in this section, the term “non-economic loss” includes, but is not limited to, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium or other damages for non-economic loss. However, nothing in this subdivision shall be deemed to alter, modify or abrogate the liability of any person performing such services for breach of any express warranty, limited or otherwise, or an express or implied warranty under the uniform commercial code, or to an employee of such person pursuant to the workers’ compensation law, or to relieve from any liability any person who is responsible for a discharge in violation of section one hundred seventy-four of this article.(b) No action taken by any person to contain or remove a discharge shall be construed as an admission of liability for said discharge. No person who gratuitously renders assistance in containing or removing a discharge shall be liable for any civil damages to third parties resulting solely from acts or omissions of such person in rendering such assistance except for acts or omissions of gross negligence or willful misconduct. In the course of cleanup and removal, no person shall discharge any detergent into the waters of this state without prior authorization of the commissioner of environmental conservation. 

(c) A person may, without admission of responsibility for the discharge of petroleum and with the consent of the commissioner, commence clean up and removal of the discharge and upon the recommendation of the commissioner of health and with the consent of the fund undertake the relocation of persons affected by the discharge of petroleum. Upon determination by the fund that the person is not responsible for the discharge, the person shall be reimbursed by the fund for the actual and necessary expenses incurred.

8. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, including but not limited to section 15-108 of the general obligations law, every person providing cleanup, removal of discharge of petroleum or relocation of persons pursuant to this section shall be entitled to contribution from any other responsible party.



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