Defendant Seeking Summary Judgment Under the Storm in Progress Rule Must Demonstrate It Did Not Undertake Snow Removal During or Immediately After the Storm and Did Not Create or Exacerbate the Dangerous Condition
The Second Department, in denying defendant’s (Happy Nails’) motion for summary judgment, explained the analytical criteria for the “storm in progress” defense to a slip and fall case. Here the defendant failed to demonstrate it did not undertake snow removal efforts and did not create or exacerbate the dangerous condition during or immediately after the storm:
Under the storm-in-progress rule, a property owner or tenant in possession will not be held responsible for accidents caused by snow or ice that accumulates on its premises during a storm, or on an abutting public sidewalk that it has a statutory duty to clear, ” until an adequate period of time has passed following the cessation of the storm to allow the owner an opportunity to ameliorate the hazards caused by the storm'” … . However, once a landowner or a tenant in possession elects to engage in snow removal, it is required to act with “reasonable care so as to avoid creating a hazardous condition or exacerbating a natural hazard created by the storm” … . Thus, New Happy Nails may be held liable for the allegedly hazardous condition on the sidewalk if it undertook snow and ice removal efforts during or immediately after the storm that made the naturally occurring condition more hazardous … .
Here, New Happy Nails failed to establish its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. New Happy Nails failed to demonstrate that it did not undertake to remove snow and ice during or immediately after the storm, and failed to show that any such efforts on its part did not create or exacerbate the alleged icy condition … . Fernandez v City of New York, 2015 NY Slip Op 01410, 2nd Dept 2-18-15