When snow and ice result in personal injury or property damage, who is legally responsible? The answer will likely depend on the law of the state where the accident occurs. For more than 100 years, Massachusetts applied a rule that a property owner is not liable in tort for failing to remove a natural accumulation of snow and ice. That all changed with the Supreme Judicial Court’s 2010 decision, Papadopoulos v. Target Corp., in which the court abolished any legal distinction between natural and unnatural accumulations of snow and instead said that a property owner has a duty to act “as a reasonable person under all the circumstances” with regard to removal of snow and ice.
Will the Papadopoulos ruling result in a blizzard of new lawsuits in Massachusetts? What is likely to happen elsewhere in the U.S., given the severity of the weather this winter all across the country? On this week’s Lawyer2Lawyer podcast, we interview two lawyers who are experts in the slippery issues of liability for snow and ice:
- Plaintiffs’ attorney David W. White, founding member of the Boston law firm Breakstone, White & Gluck.
- Defense lawyer James T. Scamby, partner in the Boston law firm of Tucker, Heifetz & Saltzman, and the attorney who represented the property owners in the Papadopoulos case.
Listen to the show or download the MP3 at the Legal Talk Network.