The Third Department determined the claim that a resort was closed in the winter did not relieve the property owner from the duty to maintain the walkways during the winter months. Plaintiff slipped and fell on a snow-covered walkway. Condominiums at the resort were accessible year-round:
…[I]t is well settled that “a landowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining his [or her] own property in a reasonably safe condition under the circumstances” … . The nature and scope of a landowner’s duty and the persons to whom such duty is owed are determined by consideration of, among other things, “the likelihood of injury to another from a dangerous condition on the property, . . . the burden of avoiding the risk [as well as] the foreseeability of a potential plaintiff’s presence on the property” … . “Although a jury determines whether and to what extent a particular duty was breached, it is for the court first to determine whether any duty exists, taking into consideration the reasonable expectations of the parties and society generally” … .
In order to satisfy its burden on summary judgment, defendant was required to present evidence conclusively establishing that its duty to use reasonable care did not extend to plaintiff. We reject defendant’s argument that it was not required to maintain the walkway on which plaintiff fell because the resort was closed to the public during the winter months. It is undisputed that there was no gate or other apparatus blocking the public’s access to the resort and, apart from a sign posted on the main hotel door, there was no notice that either the resort property resort, generally, or the subject walkway, in particular, was closed to the public at the time of plaintiff’s accident. Significantly, the condominiums located on the resort property were accessible year-round, with no limitation on visitors. It is also uncontroverted that defendant did not inspect the walkway in question. In our view, defendant failed to establish as a matter of law that plaintiff’s use of the path was not reasonably foreseeable… . Drake v Sagbolt LLC, 516967, 3rd Dept 12-12-13