Friday, April 15, 2016

Application of the storm in progress rule.

Practice point:  Under the rule, a property owner is not responsible for accidents occurring as a result of the accumulation of snow and ice on its premises 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.

Here, the defendants established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting evidence including the affidavit of a meteorologist, certified climatological data, and the affidavit of a licensed engineer. That evidence demonstrated that the roof of the shed partially collapsed due to the weight of the accumulated snow, and that it was snowing at the time of the occurrence and, therefore, that so the storm in progress rule applies. The burden then shifted to the plaintiff to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the precipitation from the storm in progress was not the cause of the accident. The plaintiff failed to sustain this burden, and the Appellate Division affirmed the granting of the defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

Student note:  A lull in the storm does not impose a duty to remove the accumulation of snow or ice before the storm ceases in its entirety.

Case:  Baker v. St. Christopher's Inn, Inc., NY Slip Op 02600 (2d Dep't 2016)

Here is the decision.

Monday's issue:  Application of the relation-back doctrine.