SW Legal studies in Business

Sidewalk Means Sidewalk for Liability in Slip-and-Fall Case
Description

Illinois appeals court held that while a statute prohibits suits in most slip-and-fall cases that occur on sidewalks as a result of snow or ice that has been cleared, it does not apply in the case of a man who slipped and fell on a driveway that had been plowed for snow but was still slippery.

Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words

Negligence; Slip-and-Fall; Ice, Driveway; Condominium

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Union Square owed and was responsible for the maintenance of the common areas of a condo development in which Gallagher owed a unit. Union hired Landscapes to provide snow removal for the development, including the driveway. After a large snowfall, Landscapes plowed a single path up Gallagher's driveway, resulting is snow being piled around the path and blocking the garage door. When Gallagher drove home, because he could not get into the garage, he parked on the street. When walking up his driveway, he slipped on the ice, fell, and broke his leg in several places. He sued Union and Landscapes for negligence for not putting salt or snow on the ice and for creating a dangerous situation. The trial court dismissed the complaint. Gallagher appealed.

Decision

Reversed and remanded. An Illinois statute states that whoever owns or is in charge of property and removes snow or ice from sidewalks "shall not be liable for any personal injuries allegedly caused by the snowy or icy condition of the sidewalk resulting from his or her acts or omissions unless the alleged conduct was willful or wanton." The driveway was not a sidewalk within the plain meaning of the statute that grants immunity to property owners who remove snow or ice from "sidewalks abutting the property." Thus, the state statute concerning snow and ice on sidewalks does not bar Gallagher's claim for his injuries.

Citation Gallagher v. Union Square Condominium,---N.E.2d--- (2010 WL 338816, Ct. App., Ill., 2010)

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