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Duty to Remove Snow and Ice and Public Transportation

August 6, 2009

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As we all know, the duty to remove snow and ice is always a hot button issue in the casualty world.  Many factors, including ownership of the property, the city or municipality where the property is located, and the use of the property are significant in determining the existence of a duty to remove snow and ice.
In <em><a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Marshall-v.-LIRR.pdf">Marshall v. Long Island Railroad</a></em>, 2017 Slip Op 02637 (2d Dept. 2017), plaintiff slipped and fell due to ice on a walkway between two staircases adjacent to the Great Neck Station of the Long Island Railroad. Plaintiff alleged that the LIRR was responsible for snow and ice removal, as the walkway constituted ingress and egress onto the train. The Second Department affirmed the Supreme Court’s decision which granted the defendant Long Island Railroad summary judgment, dismissing plaintiff’s claims.
Defendant Long Island Railroad showed that the walkway at issue was used both as an access way to the train, local buses and a local taxi dispatcher. The Court found that the duty of a carrier to conduct snow removal in areas of ingress and egress does not extend to common areas which are shared by more than one carrier. As such, the snow removal obligation continued to rest with the owner of the property and none of the carriers which use it as an ingress and egress.  This same premise applies to entrances and exits to subway stations and other mass transit carriers within the City of New York and throughout New York State.
This writer is familiar with the station in question, and personally, I always thought of the walkway as part of the public sidewalk, as opposed to LIRR property.  It seems the Second Department reached a just outcome this time.  Thanks to Dana Purcaro for her contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.

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