The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the defendants’ motion for summary judgment in this slip and fall case should have been granted on the ground that the storm-in-progress defense applied:
On March 15, 2017, at approximately 5:55 a.m., the plaintiff … allegedly was injured when he slipped and fell on snow and ice on premises owned by the defendants. …
“Under the storm-in-progress rule, a property owner, tenant in possession, or, where relevant, a snow removal contractor will not be held responsible for accidents caused by snow or ice that accumulates during a storm until an adequate period of time has passed following the cessation of the storm to allow . . . 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 during a storm in progress, “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” … . “The mere failure of a defendant to remove all of the snow and ice, without more, does not establish that the defendant increased the risk of harm” … .
Here, in support of their motion, the defendants submitted … [plaintiff’s] deposition testimony, which established … that snow began to fall the day before the incident and continued to fall into the overnight hours, producing 6 to 12 inches of snow, and that the defendants did not have a reasonably sufficient time to ameliorate the hazards caused by the storm … . Henenlotter v Union Free Sch. Dist. No. 23, 2022 NY Slip Op 06116, Second Dept 11-2-22
Practice Point: Here six to twelve inches of snow fell overnight and plaintiff slipped and fell around 6 in the morning. The appellate court determined the storm-in-progress defense applied and defendants’ motion for summary judgment should have been granted.