Defendant Slips On Storm In Progress Rule (NY)
In a recent case from the Second Department of the Appellant Division of New York, Fitzsimons v. N. Shore Univ. Hosp., the court affirmed an order granting summary judgment to a defendant parking garage owner on the basis of the storm in progress rule.
The plaintiff in the case was walking to his car on the fourth floor of the defendant’s parking garage. After slipping and falling on ice, the plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against the owner of the hospital alleging the defendant was negligent in failing to maintain its premises and clear the snow and ice in a timely manner. The defendant responded to the action by moving for summary judgment pursuant to the “storm in progress rule.” The lower court agreed with the defendant and granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Second Department affirmed, and explained that “under the storm in progress rule, a property owner will not be held liable in negligence for injuries sustained as a result of a slippery snow or ice condition occurring during a storm or for a reasonable time thereafter.” As part of their argument, the defendant submitted an affidavit of a meteorologist with attached certified climatological data, which proved that at the time of plaintiff’s accident, less than two hours had passed since the end of the storm.
Thus, this case demonstrates that while a storm is in progress and for a reasonable amount of time after, defendants will not be found liable for slip and fall injuries suffered by plaintiffs as long as they can provide sufficient evidence proving a storm was in fact in progress, such as an affidavit and certified report from a meteorologist.
Thanks to Mark Rodriguez for his contribution to this article. Should you have any questions, please contact Matthew Care.