Owner has “Grace Period” to Clear Snow After Early Morning Storm (NY)

Although no court has yet to specify the exact amount of time an owner has to remove snow after a storm,  the Appellate Division, First Department in Robinson v 156 Broadway Assoc., LLC sheds light on the issue. There, the plaintiff slipped on ice located on the top step of an exterior staircase at 6:30 a.m.  The storm had ended sometime in the “early morning hours.” The First Department upheld the grant of summary judgment to the landowner. The court stated that an unreasonable amount of time had not elapsed from the end of the storm to when the landowner began its snow removal efforts. Although not specifying the specific amount of time, the court acknowledged that the owner was entitled to a “grace period” before clearing snow. Thus, where a storm ends overnight, it appears the owner is allotted additional time to remove snow.

The Robinson decision is also noteworthy because the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that short handrails contributed to the accident. It was undisputed that these handrails violated the local building code. However, since the accident happened at the top of the stairs, the plaintiff never attempted to use the them. Thus, the court reasoned that they were not a cause of the accident.

Thanks to Bill Kirrane for his contribution to this post.  If you have any questions or comments, please email Paul at pclark@wcmlaw.com