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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished In A Snow Storm (NY)

February 4, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">The case of<em> <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/action.pdf">Edwin </a> Coreano v 983 Tenants Corp.</em>, 2021 NY Slip Op 00289 (2nd Dept. 2021) involves a slip and fall on a stairway during an ongoing snowstorm. After discovery was complete, the defendant building owner moved for summary judgment arguing that he should not be held liable under the “storm in progress” rule. The trial court denied the summary judgment and defendant appealed to the Second Department. The Second Department affirmed the lower court decision.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Under the “storm in progress” rule, a property owner will not be held liable for accidents occurring as a result of snow or ice on its property until an adequate period of time has passed after the storm has ended, giving the property owner an opportunity to clean up the hazardous snow or ice. However, a caveat of this rule is that if a storm is ongoing, and a property owner chooses to remove some snow during the storm, then he must do it with reasonable care or he could be held liable for creating or exacerbating the natural hazards caused by the storm. Defendant made efforts to clean the snow during the storm, and failed to show that his efforts did not create or exacerbate the hazardous conditions causing plaintiff’s accident.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This case confirms that a property owner can wait until a storm passes to begin to clear snow, and will not be held liable for a slip and fall accident during a storm in progress. However, if the property owner chooses to take affirmative steps to clean the snow or ice during the storm, then he runs the risk of liability if he creates or exacerbates a hazardous condition.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Raymond Gonzalez for his contribution to this post. Please contact <a href="mailto:Haquino@wcmlaw.com">Heather Aquino</a> with any questions.</p>

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