"STORM IN PROGRESS" RULE APPLIED TO GRANT DEFENSE SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DISMISS SLIP-AND-FALL ACCIDENT CASE

Case: Ethan Rand v. Cornell University

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York

Date: January 24, 2012

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Queens; Queens injury lawyer)

Comment: Plaintiff slipped and fell on snow and ice. Defense moved for summary judgment based on the "storm in progress" doctrine.

Plaintiff's expert stated the melting and refreezing of accumulated snow caused plaintiff to fall. The court disregarded this as "speculative," especially since the building's superintendent stated that the area was near a building entrance and kept clear. Case dismissed.

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Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Jane S. Solomon, J.), entered November 22, 2010, which granted defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

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SLIP-AND-FALL ACCIDENT IN PARKING LOT: SUMMARY JUDGMENT TO SOME DEFENDANTS(Posted by Queens injury lawyer Gary E. Rosenberg on Jan 17, 2012 )

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Defendant established its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, in this action for personal injuries allegedly sustained when plaintiff slipped and fell on a sheet of ice on the sidewalk outside defendant's building. At the time of the fall, it was "cold with very light flurries"_ and plaintiff alleges that the sheet of ice "was under the flurried snow." Defendant submitted, inter alia, the affidavit of a climatologist and weather data from the day of the accident showing that a storm was in progress at the time of the accident (see Pipero v. New York City Tr. Auth., 69 AD3d 493 [2010]; Powell v. MLG Hillside Assoc., 290 A.D.2d 345 [2002]).

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In opposition, plaintiff submitted an affidavit of a meteorologist who concluded that the hazardous icy condition preexisted the storm and was created by the melting and refreezing of snow that had accumulated from snowfalls that occurred several days before the accident date. However, nothing in the record supports the expert's claim that snow had accumulated on "exposed, undisturbed (i.e., not shoveled, plowed, walked upon, etc.) and untreated (i.e., not salted) ground" outside the building where plaintiff fell. Indeed, the lead custodian of the building stated that the entrance area where plaintiff fell was salted and shoveled at least twice per weekday; that the area had been cleared of snow for an event held at the building a week before the accident; and that his staff would never let snow accumulate so close to the building's heavily traveled entrance area. Accordingly, the conclusion of plaintiff's expert that the melting and refreezing of accumulated snow caused plaintiff's fall is speculative and fails to raise an issue of fact as to whether plaintiff slipped on _old ice_ (see Bernstein v. City of New York, 69 N.Y.2d 1020, 1022 [1987]; Hamill v. City of New York, 52 N.Y.2d 1045 [1981], affg 78 A.D.2d 792 [1980]; compare Tubens v. New York City Hous. Auth., 248 A.D.2d 291 [1998]).

We have considered plaintiff's remaining contentions and find them unavailing.

THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT.

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BUILDING OWNER DENIED SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN ICY SIDEWALK SLIP-AND-FALL ACCIDENT; DID OWNER KNOW OF WATER RUNOFF FROM ROOF? (Posted by Queens injury lawyer Gary E. Rosenberg on Oct 30, 2011)

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