Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Issues of Fact Preclude Summary Judgment Based on Hills and Ridges Doctrine

In the case of Padilla v. Moravian Development Corp., No. C-48-CV-2017-1007 (C.P. Northampt. Co. Jan. 23, 2019 McFadden, J.), Judge F.P. Kimberly McFadden of the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas recently issued a detailed Order denying a Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment based upon the hills and ridges doctrine.  

The court recited the current status of the law of the hills and ridges doctrine and emphasized that the doctrine may only be applied in cases where the snow and ice complained of are a result of an entirely natural accumulation following a recent snowfall.  The court noted that the hills and ridges doctrine does not apply if the ice was of artificial origin.  

In this case, the Plaintiff alleges that she fell on ice that accumulated as a result of prior attempts to clear the sidewalk. 

The court found that material issues of fact remained in the case whether the Plaintiff’s fall was caused by natural accumulations of snow and ice during an ongoing weather event, or whether the Plaintiff’s fall was caused by a condition of the land created by human intervention.  

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


I send thanks to Attorney Steven A. Bergstein of the Allentown, Pennsylvania office of Engler, Wiener & Bergstein for bring this Order to my attention.

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