Important New Massachusetts Snow and Ice Decision

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently decided the case of O’Brien v. Leahy Landscaping.  In that case, the plaintiff, O’Brien, sustained a fractured wrist after slipping and falling due to snow and ice that had remained on the Defendant’s premises for five days following a snow storm.  As you may know from reading this blog, the only way to create liability in Massachusetts snow and ice cases is to show the accident was caused by an ‘unnatural’ accumulation of ice and snow.  Many times, this is difficult, if not impossible to show.

O’Brien’s lawyer successfully argued that the snow and ice had been converted to an ‘unnatural’ accumulation by the landowner’s failure to clear it within a reasonable period of time.  This case is significant because it expands the definition of what constitutes an ‘unnatural’ accumulation of ice and snow in Massachusetts.  That means those injured in snow and ice accidents now have an added way in which to create liability on the part of a landowner.

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