It is black letter law that a property owner has a duty to keep the premises safe, including removing snow/ice/water inside the premises that creates a dangerous condition. However, under New York Law this duty is suspended while the storm is in progress, and for a “reasonable” time after the storm ended.
This rule was affirmed in Assaf v. City of New York (110286/08) wherein the Supreme Court, New York County granted summary judgment to the defendants dismissing a complaint brought by a pedestrian who was injured due to a wet floor in the lobby of a building. Plaintiff argued that an accumulation of snow, tracked in by others, created a hazardous condition, and that no mats were placed on the floor, despite a practice of placing mats during inclement weather. There was no dispute that the storm was in progress when plaintiff fell.
The court rejected plaintiff’s arguments, holding that no liability can attach to the property owner while the storm is in progress. This includes failure to adhere to the practice of placing mats during inclement weather.
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