I'm speaking about the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis that began in late April, of course. Few environmental catastrophes have shocked the nation more than the huge, continuing, unremitting flow of many thousands of gallons per hour of oil for seemingly an interminable period, with no end in sight. The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up more than a month ago now, spewing immeasurable quantities of oil into the Gulf. All efforts to contain it have failed. No longer out in the deep ocean, the spill has now reached Gulf beaches. The Louisiana state bird, the pelican, is found covered with crude.
Under New York Law, property damage is deemed to occur within the period of an occurrence-based policy, if injury-in-fact takes place during the policy period. See Continental Casualty Co. v. Rapid-American Corp., 177 A.D.2d 61 (App. Div., 1992). An insurer may only refuse to defend an action, however, where a comparison of the policy with the underlying complaint shows on its face that there is no potential for coverage. See Ruder & Finn, Inc. v. Seaboard Sur. Co., 52 N.Y.2d 663 (1981).