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New Jersey Appellate Division Holds That Ongoing Storm Rule Applies To Lessees And Snow Removal Contractors

October 28, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held in <em>Pareja v. Princeton International Properties </em>that commercial property owners (i.e. landlords) owe no duty to pedestrians to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks during an ongoing winter storm.  However, this did not stop some plaintiff attorneys from arguing that this rule does not apply to commercial lessees and their snow removal vendors, as case law was conflicting with respect to duties owed for sidewalks abutting commercial properties.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In<em> <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Youssef-v.-Shri-Ram-Donuts-3-LLC.pdf">Youssef v. Shri-Ram Donuts #3 LLC</a></em>, the plaintiffs argued that a commercial property owner possesses a duty to clear snow even during an ongoing storm.  In the instant matter, the commercial landlord delegated snow and ice removal to the commercial tenant.  The Appellate Division held that the logic behind <em>Pareja </em>applies equally to commercial tenants.  The court also held that the rule applies to relieve vendors retained by the tenant or the landlord to remove snow and ice.  Accordingly, it was ordered that plaintiff’s complaint be dismissed in its entirety.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This case is important since the Supreme Court in <em>Pareja</em> did not discuss whether the ongoing storm rule applied to tenants and their snow removal vendors.  Nonetheless, it appears that New Jersey courts will be applying the defense-friendly rule to not only landlords, but also their tenants and snow removal vendors.</p>
Thanks to Mike Noblett for his contribution to this post.  If you have any question, please contact <a href="mailto:mcare@wcmlaw.com">Matthew Care</a>.

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