The Third Department determined there was a question of fact whether a contractor hired to clear snow and ice created a dangerous condition by not using salt designed for low temperatures:
While a snow removal contractor is generally not liable to injured persons who were not parties to the contract …, plaintiffs argue the recognized exception that extends a duty to noncontracting third parties where the contractor fails to exercise reasonable care in the performance of duties such that he or she “‘launche[s] a force or instrument of harm'” … .
In opposition to the motion for summary judgment, plaintiffs submitted affidavits from experts who opined that, among other things, [defendant’s] application of plain, untreated rock salt to the parking lot on the morning in question was negligent because temperatures, which were below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, were too cold for plain rock salt to be effective. According to plaintiffs’ experts, by using untreated salt instead of treated, low temperature salt, [defendant] caused snow shoveled from the sidewalk to the parking lot … to melt and then quickly refreeze, creating a layer of ice beneath the snow. There is no dispute that [defendant] had the option of using untreated or treated salt pursuant to the contract and that he had both kinds available. There was also evidence that [defendant] was aware that snow would be shoveled from the sidewalk onto the parking lot, and [a witness] testified that he had observed salt in the area where plaintiff fell. This evidence sufficiently raises a question of fact as to whether [defendant] “‘negligently create[d] or exacerbate[d] a dangerous condition'” by using untreated salt, resulting in the formation of the ice on which plaintiff allegedly slipped… . Belmonte v Guilderland Associates LLC…, 516830, 3rd Dept 12-12-13