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Supreme Judicial Court’s Massachusetts Slip and Fall Ruling in Lawsuit Against Target Dissolves Distinction Between Unnatural and Natural Ice and Snow Accumulations

The Supreme Judicial Court has thrown out a 125-year old ruling that allows there to be a distinction between snow and ice conditions caused by nature and those that accumulate artificially. In a unanimous Massachusetts slip and fall ruling, the state’s high court said that effective immediately (and retroactively to pending lawsuits) it will no longer be reasonable for a property owner to allow ice or snow to accumulate on a walkway even if either got there by natural means.

The court’s decision comes in the Massachusetts slip and fall lawsuit filed by Emanuel Papadopoulos against Target and Weiss Landscaping, the snowplow company it hired to clear snow and ice from in Liberty Tree Mall. Papadopoulos was involved in the Danvers slip and fall accident in 2002 when he slipped on snow that had turned into ice in the parking area.

While lower courts had ruled in favor of the defendants as a result of the distinction between “artificial” and “natural” ice, which holds that property owners are not violating their duty of care when they don’t remove natural accumulations of ice and snow, the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling now paves the way for Papadopoulos’s Massachusetts slip and fall lawsuit to go back to a lower court for reconsideration.

Common kinds of slip and fall injuries:
• Bruises • Scrapes • Broken bones • Fractures • Hip injuries • Traumatic brain injuries • Spinal cord injuries • Resulting health complications
Boston, Massachusetts Slip and Fall Boston slip and fall injuries can be excruciatingly painful and costly to treat. You may have grounds for a Boston premises liability case.

High court changes rules on slip-and-fall lawsuits, Boston.com, July 26, 2010

SJC upends 100 years of slip-and-slide law, Boston Business, July 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Slip and Fall, Nolo
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

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