Contact Us for a Free Consultation 914-371-3600


Law for a SNOW DAY

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Dec 18, 2008 | 0 Comments

Welcome to TNYMMLB's SNOW DAY EDITION .   Today, we talk about, what else, snow.

What is a landowner's duty to those who might walk by or through his land when there is a snow storm?   The Appellate Division, First Department wrote on this as recently as December 9, 2008, in Espinell v. Disckson , NY Slip Op 09638 (1 st Dept. 2008) , a case in which plaintiff had slipped, fallen and injured himself on an icy patch of defendant's sidewalk the morning after some mixed precipitation, including snow and ice.

The Court granted defendant's summary judgment motion (for dismissal), finding that the defendant landowner did not have sufficient notice of the ice, and therefore could not have been reasonably expected to remove it prior to plaintiff's fall.   In coming to its decision, the Court noted that such a landowner's duty to take “reasonable measures” to keep his property safe is suspended during the snow storm, and does not begin until a “reasonable time” after the storm has stopped.   What is a “reasonable time”?    That would be the time period in which the landowner should have taken notice of the dangerous condition, and “in the exercise of reasonable care,” addressed it so as to render it safe.

The Court found that defendant landowner lacked notice because the ice patch was not “readily visible,” and because of the short interval of time between the end of the storm, and plaintiff's fall.   (The snow had stopped completely by 7:00 a.m., and the accident occurred at 8:45 a.m.)

What can we learn from this?   Landowners, don't rely on what any court might think is reasonable.   Clean up the snow and ice that collects, often and well.   Pedestrians, be careful out there.   But, if you are going to fall and hurt yourself, make sure to tell the landowner about the icy condition ahead of time.

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment


$7.9 million dollars for infant client who suffered severe brain injuries due to post- delivery medical malpractice.

$500,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement on behalf of patient brought to hospital emergency room with serious injuries who suffered complications while unmonitored and died.

$425,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of senior hospital patient whose surgeon failed to timely address her worsening symptoms, resulting in her death.

$250,000 to young man whose physician failed to diagnose an impending torsion testicle, causing the loss of the affected testicle.

$200,000 to young mother whose OB/GYN failed to timely diagnose and treat her ectopic pregnancy, resulting in excruciating, long-term pain and the need for surgery to address the ectopic pregnancy once it was diagnosed.