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New York Navigation Law Archives

In Oil Spill Case, Common Law Negligence Claim Against Insurer Not Time-Barred Despite Policy

Sometimes simple common law principles are the best way to litigate against insurance companies. Specifically, if the insurance policy calls for a two-year limitations period to sue, make sure your attorney alleges common law negligence against the insurance carrier if you want the benefit of the longer, three-year, statute of limitations period (assuming the facts support a negligence claim, of course).

Albany County Executive Proposes New County Legislation on Crude Oil Spill Reporting

Could fracking in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation have a direct impact on New York State? Yes, but the impact isn't limited to prices at the gas pump or home energy heating bills. Instead, the fracking operations are leading to a surge in freight trains hauling crude oil along the state's rail lines to a terminal at the port of Albany, New York. Shale formations such as the Bakken produce crude oil along with natural gas during fracking operations, and some claim that Bakken crude may "more dangerous to ship by rail than crude from other areas." 

Destruction of Oil Spill Investigation Data Ruled Not Sufficiently Prejudicial to Warrant the Dismissal of a Cost Recovery Action Under Navigation Law § 12

Does the destruction of plaintiff's technical data supporting disclosed oil spill investigation reports get a defendant off the hook? Apparently not, decided the Appellate Division (Third Dept.) in a November 2012 decision, rejecting a defense motion to reverse a plaintiff's trial verdict. Defendants had received the reports themselves, without the backup technical data, but had not requested any of the data for nearly a year after the commencement of litigation, well after a document retention policy caused destruction of the backup data. 

New York Navigation Law Sec 181. Liability. Section 3

3. (a) The owner or operator of a major facility or vessel which has discharged petroleum shall be strictly liable, without regard to fault, subject to the defenses enumerated in subdivision four of this section, for all cleanup and removal costs and all direct and indirect damages paid by the fund. However, the cleanup and removal costs and direct and indirect damages which may be recovered by the fund with respect to each incident shall not exceed: (i) for a tank vessel, the greater of:
(1) one thousand two hundred dollars per gross ton; or
(2) (A) in the case of a vessel greater than three thousand gross tons, ten million dollars; or (B) in the case of a vessel or three thousand gross tons or less, two million dollars; 

N.Y. Navigation Law Sec. 176. Removal of prohibited discharges. Sections 4 - 6

4. Cleanup and removal of petroleum and actions to minimize damage from discharges shall be, to the greatest extent possible, in accordance with the National Contingency Plan for removal of oil and hazardous substances established pursuant to section 311 (d) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), as amended by the Federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.), or revised under section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. 9605). 5. The department in consultation with the attorney general shall develop a standard contract form to be used when contracting services for the cleanup and removal of a discharge. 

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. 

N.Y. Navigation Law Sec. 172. Definitions Sections 7 - 14

Environmental Statutes, Codes, Regulations and Related Materials
N.Y. Navigation Law Sec. 172. Definitions Sections 7 - 14 

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