Attorney David Rubin a Family Law lawyer with offices in Framingham, MA appeared on the radio show “Talking about the Law” discussing “Family Law: How to Survive without Wounds” on Thursday, September 1st at 1:00pm on WCRN 830 AM Radio. It may also be heard via the web at WCRN Radio as a live stream.
Some area snow plowers believe a recent court decision might work in their favor this winter.
The Supreme Judicial Court decided Monday that property owners are responsible for clearing snow from their land, whether it fell naturally or was moved by a plow, to avoid snow-related injuries.
The ruling could mean an increase in business.
“It would have to (increase business). People are going to be more conscious of plowing,” said Joan Colligan, office manager for Colligan Landscaping in Franklin.
The ruling relates to the case of a Peabody man who broke his pelvis in 2002 when he fell on a patch of ice in the parking lot of a Target department store in Danvers.
Though the parking lot was clear, the man slipped on snow plowed into a median strip. A judge initially dismissed the case, determining the man had slipped on a “natural accumulation” of snow or ice – for which Massachusetts property owners have not been liable until now.
In writing for the court, Justice Ralph Gants said landowners are now responsible for making their property safe from all types of snow and ice.
“We now will apply to hazards arising from snow and ice the same obligation that a property owner owes to lawful visitors as to all other hazards: a duty to ‘act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances including the likelihood of injury to others, the probable seriousness of such injuries, and the burden of reducing or avoiding the risk,”‘ Gants wrote.
David Rubin, a personal injury lawyer from Framingham, likes the ruling.
“I think this decision is a good decision in that it recognizes when snow or ice transitions from a natural to an unnatural accumulation – the property owner has a legal responsibility for making sure the premises are safe for pedestrians, and if they’re not, they’ll be culpable,” Rubin said.
Practicing law for nearly 30 years, Rubin says he gets about 40 snow-related injury inquiries a year.
“The problem has always been, historically in these cases, how to distinguish natural or unnatural snow and ice. You have to recognize when you live in New England or any other part of the country where there’s a lot of snow, there’s a certain amount of risk that comes with the weather because everybody knows snow and ice can create a problem,” he said.
“For those acts of God, so to speak, the courts have held no liability on the landowner. Once the landowner does something to remove snow or ice from their property properly, (there’s a) liability.” [Read more…]