Thursday, February 18, 2021

Summary Judgment Motions Addressed in Snow Slip and Fall Case

In the case of Snair v. Speedway, LLC, No. 1:18-CV-00376-CCW (W.D. Pa. Jan. 19, 2021 Wiegand, J.), the court granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment filed by a gas station, a snow removal service company, and that company’s subcontractor in a Plaintiff’s action for an alleged slip and fall event that allegedly occurred in a gas station parking lot matter.

The court found that there were genuine issues of material fact as to any constructive notice on the part of the gas station.

The court also found that there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether or not the snow removal service company owed any duty to the Plaintiff. Moreover, the court found that the subcontractor was not liable for indemnity or contribution under its contract.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff slipped and fell at the gas station while refueling his truck.

The Defendant gas station had contracted with the snow removal service company to provide snow and ice removal services at the gas station. That snow removal service company had contracted with a Defendant subcontractor to complete the plowing the salting.

The Plaintiff argued in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment that, since the snow and ice were under a canopy and was dirty, a jury could infer that the snow had been present for a significant period of time such that the gas station owner should have cleared the same. The Plaintiff also presented evidence that station employees were supposed to check for snow and ice around the pumps throughout the day and there was no evidence that any inspection had been performed from one day to the next leading up to the incident. As stated, the court found issues of material fact with respect to the potential liability for the gas station company and allowed that claim to proceed to a jury.

The court also found issues of fact regarding the Defendants argument that the “choice of ways doctrine” barred recovery for the Plaintiff. The court noted that there were issues of material fact as to whether the Plaintiff failed to avoid an obvious hazard and also chose a dangerous route over a safe route.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Feb. 4, 2021).

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