In<em> <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/FOLUSHO-OYEBOLA-v-WAL-MART-STORES-INC.pdf">Oyebola v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc</a></em>. the New Jersey appellate court recently affirmed the applicability of the Ongoing Storm Doctrine with respect to a slip and fall accident in the parking lot of a Walmart store. The Ongoing Strom Doctrine allows commercial businesses a reasonable amount of time after the cessation of snowfall to clear the snow and ice. With respect to the instant matter, the Court critically determined that it was undisputed that (a) the storm was ongoing at the time of the alleged accident and (b) Walmart had a third-party contractor that was onsite performing snow removal activities. Nonetheless, plaintiff submitted a liability expert report, arguing that Walmart failed to create a proper protocol with respect to snow removal practices and procedures in a specific manner that would best mitigate potential risks and harms for customers.
The Court determined that, despite the plaintiff submitting a liability expert report, no genuine dispute of a material fact existed as the only critical fact was that all parties admitted it was still snowing at the time of the slip and fall. Specifically, despite Walmart possibly not adhering to best practices by failing to create a proper snow removal protocol, the lack of said protocol cannot create a disputed fact. In essence, the Court determined that even if Walmart did not maintain a snow removal protocol, liability could not apply as it was still snowing.
The Ongoing Storm Doctrine is alive and well in New Jersey.
Thank you to <a href="mailto:email@example.com">Matthew Care</a> for his contribution to this post.