What Massachusetts Property Owners Need to Know About Snow Removal

This year’s snow fall brings new responsibilities for Massachusetts property owners. A new law took effect in July 2010, when the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the case of Papadopoulos v. Target Corporation.

The ruling means property owners now must take reasonable care to remove all snow accumulation from their property and keep accessible areas safe to travel. Previously, Massachusetts property owners enjoyed a special exemption from liability for “natural accumulations” of snow and ice. An injured person had to demonstrate the accumulation was “unnatural,” such as a snow pile created by a plow.

The ruling means snow removal is now a requirement. If a property owner fails to use reasonable care in clearing snow and ice from their property and someone is injured as a result, the property owner can be held liable.

Breakstone, White and Gluck has recently explained the new law in the media, including what it means for property owners and those injured in snow and ice accidents. Here’s what we had to say:

Snow Removal Law May Face Test. Attorney David White discusses Massachusetts’ new snow removal law in The Boston Globe. Dec. 25, 2010. Click here to read.

Attorney David White tells WBZ-TV about the new standard for snow removal in Massachusetts and offers property owners tips for protecting themselves. Click here to watch. Dec. 20, 2010.

Attorney David White is interviewed by Fox 25 about the recent Massachusetts snow and ice decision and its impact on snow removal for property owners. Click here to watch. Dec. 17, 2010.

Snow and Ice Removal No Longer Optional. Attorney David White explains what a recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling means for property owners and snow removal this winter. Allston-Brighton Tab. Dec. 17, 2010. Click here to read.

Supreme Judicial Court Changes Rules on Snow Removal in Historic Decision. On July 26, 2010, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court abolished the longstanding distinction between natural and unnatural snow accumulation in slip and fall cases. Attorney David White tells The Boston Globe the ruling means, “all property owners must pay attention to conditions caused by snow and ice.” Read the article here . Also read White’s comments in the Salem News and to the Associated Press.

Attorney Marc Breakstone tells Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly snow and ice decision is, “one of the greatest public safety decisions to come down in last 25 years.” Read full article here.
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