Friday, January 25, 2019

Another Court Rules No Liability Under Hills and Ridges For Fall During Winter Event

Another decision has been rendered whereby a trial court has granted summary judgment to a Defendant under the Hills and Ridges Doctrine in a case where the Plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell during an active winter storm. 

In the case of Beauford v. Second Nature Landscaping & Construction, Inc., No. 2016-CV-8925 (C.P. Del. Co. Nov. 19, 2018 Green, J.), the court held that a Defendant landowner was not liable for alleged injuries suffered by a Plaintiff in a slip and fall event that occurred during an active storm since the Defendant had no obligation under Pennsylvania law to correct the conditions until reasonable a time after the storm ended.  

In its Opinion, the court noted that the facts pertaining to the weather conditions leading up to and after the Plaintiff’s event were uncontested.  More specifically, the court found that there was no factual dispute that the Plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell on an alleged ice puddle during an active weather event, that is, at a time when generally slippery conditions prevailed in the community.  

The court noted that, under applicable Pennsylvania law, a landowner has no obligation to correct any wintry conditions until a reasonable time after a winter storm has ended.   In this regard, the court cited Collins v. Phila. Suburban Dev. Corp., 179 A.3d 69 (Pa.Super. 2018), in which the Superior Court also held that there is no liability to landowners to persons injured as a result of a fall that occurs while a winter weather event is still active.   The Tort Talk post on the Collins case, as well as a Link to that decision, can be reviewed HERE.

In this Rule 1925 Opinion issued by the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in the Beauford case, the court requested the Superior Court to affirm its entry of summary judgment. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK. 

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