Black Ice and the Pedestrian

Lt. Col. Bryan T. Smith, PE, Construction Site Safety / OSHA expert ::::
Case Description/Summary: While walking on the sidewalk in front of a retail establishment on her way to a waiting car, the plaintiff stepped onto a “black ice” patch, which caused her to slip and fall and sustain multiple injuries. Plaintiff sued the property managers and the snow removal contractor.
Expert Analysis: Photos taken and an inspection report showed that the incident sidewalk surface had been covered with ice days after a snowfall event. The two property managers (one for the overall property and a lower tier property manager for landscaping and snow removal) blamed their snow removal contractor for full responsibility.
The snow removal contractor contended that they removed the snow that had fallen during the weather event and that they were not responsible for ice created by thaw/refreeze events. The snow removal contractor had videotaped a defective condition with the roof gutters that caused leaking and dripping onto the sidewalk below the roof overhang about a month prior to the incident and emailed it to the lower tier property manager. The lower tier property manager took no action to investigate the report, or to correct the cause and also failed to inform the overall property manager of the reported dripping problem. Continue reading “Black Ice and the Pedestrian”