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Slip and Fall on Snow & Ice in Rhode Island | RI Premises Liability

Post provided by Rhode Island Slip and Fall Lawyer David Slepkow 401-437-1100. Email RI premises Liability Attorney.

In the important 2009 Rhode Island Supreme Court Slip and Fall case of  Berardis v LOUANGXAY the Court addressed the important issue of the responsibility of a landlord  or business to remove ice and snow from the landlord’s or business property.  “This case presents us with the question of whether a landlord or business invitor owes a duty to an invitee to remove ice and snow during a storm, when ice and snow has naturally accumulated on the exterior entranceway to the building.”

The  Rhode Island Supreme Court adopted the  so called “Connecticut rule” when the Court ruled “…landlord or business invitor owes a duty to a tenant or business invitee to use reasonable care to see that the common areas are kept reasonably safe from the dangers created by an accumulation of snow and ice which is attributed to purely natural causes.” However, the Court stated “The landlord or invitor, however, must be afforded a reasonable time after the storm has ceased to remove the accumulation. ”

The Rhode Island Supreme Court reasoned “Therefore, as a general rule, any duty to clear a natural accumulation of ice and snow is not triggered before a reasonable time after the storm ends. Under unusual circumstances, however, the duty to remove the accumulation may arise before the end of the storm. ”

“Absent unusual circumstances, the law allows a landlord or business owner a reasonable time to remove a natural accumulation of ice or snow from the premises because it is unreasonable that he be “required to be at his property, shovel in hand, catching the flakes before they hit the ground.”

““To require a landlord or other inviter to keep walks and steps clear of dangerous accumulations of ice, sleet or snow or to spread sand or ashes while a storm continues is inexpedient and impractical.”

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