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Massachusetts Law About Snow and Ice

Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Regulations

City Ordinances and Town Bylaws

Massachusetts City and Town Bylaws

Selected Case Law

Papadopoulos v. Target Corp., 457 Mass. 368 (2010):  Overruling the old rule which distinguished liability based upon natural and unnatural accumulations of snow and ice, the Court decided that the same obligation that a property owner owes to lawful visitors as to all other hazards will apply to hazards arising from snow and ice.  That is 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.”  The premises liability standard of reasonable care applies retroactively to injuries from slips and falls arising from accumulations of snow and ice.

Sheehan v. City of Lynn, 269 Mass. 571 (1930):  Where snow and ice combine with a defective condition to cause injury on a public way, an action may arise under MGL c. 84, § 15.  

Other Web Sources

The Abolition of the “Natural” Accumulation Defense in Snow and Ice Cases: An overview of Papadopoulos v. Target Corp., 5 Boston Bar Journal 6, Winter, 2011.

Every Landlord's Legal Guide, 11th ed., Nolo, 2012.  Chapter 10:  Dangerous Conditions. Requires library card for access

What is a Gubernatorial State of Emergency?, Executive Office of Public Safety. "There is a misconception that various restrictions or bans automatically are triggered when there is a Gubernatorial State of Emergency in place. This is not so. The declaration of a State of Emergency does not in itself affect the operation of private enterprise. Travel is not automatically banned; businesses are not automatically closed. Many businesses do have contractual agreements with their employees regarding who does/does not have to report to work when a Gubernatorial State of Emergency is issued."

What is the minimum number of hours for which an employee must be paid on a given work day?, Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries.

Print Sources

The law of premises liability:  tort liability of the owner or occupier of real property for harm inflicted upon persons while on the premises and for harm inflicted by persons who become intoxicated while on the premises, 3rd ed., Anderson Pub. Co., 2001 w/supplement.  Chapter 7:  The Slip-and-fall Case.

Massachusetts Tort Law Manual, 2nd ed., MCLE, 2009.  Chapter 9:  Slip and Fall. 

Premises Liability, 3rd ed., West, 2002 with supplement.  Volume 3, Chapter 52:  Ice and Snow.

Premises Liability Claims:  A Guide to Defending Owners, ABA, 2002.  Chapter 6:  The Premises Owner's Liability for Snow and Ice Removal. 

Premises Liability Law and Practice, Matthew Bender, 1997 with supplement. Volume 2, Chapter 8A:  Slip & Fall Injuries; Volume 5, Chapter 30, Part A:  Forms:  Slip & Fall Cases. 

Slip and Fall Practice, 2nd ed., James Pub., 1994 w/supplement.  Chapter 22:  Falls on Ice and Snow.

Slips, Trips, Missteps, and Their Consequences, 2nd ed., Lawyers & Judges Pub. Co., 2007.

'Tis the Season: Handling and Trying Snow and Ice Cases, Mass. Bar Institute, 2010.

Tort Law, 3rd ed., West, 2005 w/supplement.  Chapter 21:  Owners and Possessors of Land.