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Pareja Case and the Ongoing Storm Rule

In June of 2021, there was a sea change in the world of Slip and Fall cases. Prior to the “Pareja” case the standard had been that owners of property had to act in a reasonable manner in caring for their property before, during, and after a meaningful snow or ice storm. The Pareja case asked the Supreme Court of New Jersey to consider the adoption of the “ongoing storm rule”, under which a landowner does not have a duty to remove snow or ice until a reasonable time after the cessation of precipitation. Ultimately the court held that commercial landowners do not have a duty to remove snow and ice until the conclusion of the storm, but unusual circumstances may give rise to a duty before then. There are two exceptions that could impose a duty: if the owner’s conduct should increase the risk of harm, or the danger is pre-existing.

While this sea change may seem simple on its face and may cause Landowners to shirk some of their former duties, the change perhaps raises more questions than it answers: When is a weather condition a “storm”? How much ice or snow must fall to be considered a “storm”?  When, exactly, is a storm concluded and when does the Landowner’s responsibility to clear the remnants of a storm begin?

The exact factual analysis has become extremely important in considering these cases and the injuries must warrant the significant outlay that comes along with potential weather experts and other liability experts that these cases demand.

To learn more about the Pareja v. Princeton International Properties case, click here.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip/fall case caused by snow or ice in New Jersey contact us at Mitchell Portnoi Law Offices at 908-228-8800.

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