Youssef v. Shri-Ram Donuts #3 LLC d/b/a Dunkin Donuts, No. A-3903-18, 2021 WL 56294 (App. Div. Jan 7, 2021)

In New Jersey, the Ongoing Storm Doctrine remains a fact-specific analysis rather than the former bright-line rule.

The plaintiff brought claims for personal injuries after he slipped and fell on an ice/snow-covered walkway adjacent to the defendants’ donut store. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants and its snow contractor after it concluded neither defendant had a duty to remove or reduce the hazard presented by the snow and ice on the walkway because the precipitation was continuing to fall at the time of the plaintiff’s accident. The Appellate Division reversed, stating that the defendant donut store had a duty to take reasonable steps to render the public walkway abutting its property reasonably safe, even while precipitation was falling. The Appellate Division did not undertake a factual analysis of the reasonable steps undertaken but, rather, concluded this was the jury’s task. The case was remanded for further proceedings.


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