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Only consideration relevant to grant of summary judgment based on Ongoing Storm Doctrine is whether the storm was ongoing at time of alleged accident. All other considerations are not “material facts.”

July 1, 2019
Oyebola v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. A-1733-17, 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 432 (App. Div. Feb. 29, 2019)

The plaintiff alleged she slipped and fell in a Wal-Mart parking lot while it was snowing. The Wal-Mart store opened at 6:00 a.m., and Wal-Mart’s snow removal contractor, Tree Fellas, LLC, arrived onsite between 6:00 a.m. and just after 7:00 a.m. to commence snow removal services. Tree Fellas, LLC remained at the site until sometime after 9:00 a.m. The plaintiff arrived at the Wal-Mart at 8:00 a.m., while it was snowing, shopped in the Wal-Mart until 8:45 a.m., and then proceeded to walk back to her car parked in the parking lot. She allegedly slipped on snow and fell next to her parked car. The plaintiff appealed from an order granting summary judgment to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Tree Fellas, LLC, and an order denying her motion for reconsideration. The court affirmed both orders, holding that the defendants were not obligated to remediate snow and ice until a reasonable time after the storm concluded. Although the plaintiff attempted to argue there material issues of fact concerning whether snow removal efforts began early enough, whether the store should have remained open, whether pre-treating should have been performed, whether the snow contractor complied with its contract and whether the snow-removal procedures were reasonable, the court held that those considerations were not relevant to the inquiry of whether summary judgment was appropriate. Rather, the only relevant consideration was the fact that it was snowing at the time of the accident. 


Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2019

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