News 05.31.24

Segal McCambridge Prevails in Premises Liability Case: No Duty to Remove Snow

Segal McCambridge, led by Of Counsel Ronald Rosa, recently secured a favorable judgment in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Hudson County, by successfully arguing that their client bore no responsibility for a slip and fall injury during a snowstorm. The plaintiff claimed to have fallen on ice in front of a building while carrying a broom and lunch bag.

At the heart of the case was the contract between our client, the Defendant, and the building owner. The contract clearly indicated that our client had no obligation to perform snow removal before the storm. This contractual detail was pivotal, as it aligned with New Jersey's "Ongoing Storm Rule."

The "Ongoing Storm Rule" in New Jersey protects commercial property owners and their contractors from negligence claims if an injury occurs due to snow and ice accumulation during an active storm. There are two notable exceptions to this rule: if the property owner's actions exacerbate the danger, or if there was a hazardous condition on the property prior to the storm. In this case, neither exception applied. The handyman arrived after the storm and completed the snow and ice removal to the property owner's satisfaction.

The judge ruled in favor of our client, finding no evidence that they had created the icy condition or had any duty to remove it before the storm. This decision underscores the importance of clear, detailed contracts between property owners and contractors to delineate responsibilities and protect against liability.