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The Ongoing Storm Doctrine bars defendants’ liability for injuries sustained during ongoing rain storms.

July 1, 2019
Abdalla v. Threegees, No. A-3591-17, 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1071 (App. Div. May 10, 2019)

The plaintiff slipped and fell on a sidewalk owned by the defendant-landlord. Freezing rain had fallen earlier in the day, and at the time of his alleged accident, the plaintiff admits it was “raining lightly[.]” Nonetheless, the plaintiff argued the defendant breached its duty of care owed by a commercial landowner to a third party by failing to treat the sidewalk to prevent it from becoming a slipping hazard. However, the trial court disagreed, concluding the “defendant did not have ‘the responsibility to go out while it [was still] raining to de-ice a condition that developed the hour earlier or two hours earlier’ because the [defendant] ‘had to be given some form of reasonable time period after the cessation of the storm itself’.” The Appellate Division agreed, precisely holding the “defendant had no duty to clear the ice until precipitation stopped.” It further emphasized that “[i]t is undisputed that it was still raining when the plaintiff fell. The continuation of the storm did not provide [the] defendant with a reasonable period of time to remove ice from the sidewalk. That reasonable time commenced at the conclusion of the precipitation.” 


Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2019

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