Injury on Property: Appeal Won for Slip and Fall Case on Ice

In a case originally argued before the Erie County Supreme Court, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria represented a pedestrian who brought a personal injury action against a property owner after slipping and falling on a patch of ice outside the owner’s building. The defendant attempted to deny the plaintiff’s claim and get the case dismissed by filing a motion for summary judgment, but the trial court denied the motion. This caused the property owner to appeal the decision to the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, the second-highest court in New York State. John A. Collins, a senior partner at the firm, responded to the appeal on behalf of the injured pedestrian. On March 28, 2014, the Fourth Department ruled in favor of Mr. Collins’s client and affirmed the trial court’s order denying the property owner’s motion for summary judgment.

According to the property owner, the plaintiff’s case should have been dismissed because she slipped and fell on the ice during a storm, which meant that the owner did not have a responsibility to remedy the icy conditions before the accident. Based on meteorological records, however, the Court determined that the storm ended approximately four hours before the accident occurred. These records showed that the storm ended no later than 4:52 a.m., and that there had been no freezing rain since 12:27 a.m. Further, radar imagery showed that the skies were “mainly clear” when the accident took place. As the rain had stopped several hours before the time of the accident, the Court agreed with the plaintiff, stating that “there is a triable issue of fact whether a reasonable period of time had passed since the abatement of the storm to impose a duty on the defendant” to remedy the icy condition that caused plaintiff’s fall.

About John A. Collins

John A. Collins is a senior partner in the Accidents and Personal Injury department at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. He practices in the areas of Civil Appellate and Motion Practice. Mr. Collins has argued appeals before several courts, including the New York Court of Appeals, all four departments of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits.


This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.