Thomas M. Bona, P.C.

Attorneys At Law



Convenience Store Satisfies Reasonable Care During Snowstorm


As part of our continuing commitment to provide outstanding representation and to serve as an information resource, we wish to inform you of a recent decision concerning reasonable care by a store during a snowstorm.  Although the summer may not be the time to think about what a landowner must do to demonstrate reasonable care in a snowstorm, a recent case from the First Department reminds us that winter will come again sooner than we think.


In O'Sullivan v. 7-Eleven, Inc., the plaintiff was injured when she slipped and fell on an accumulation of slush in front of a counter at a 7-Eleven store, during an ongoing snowstorm. The evidence demonstrated that the defendant had laid out a mat and placed an orange cone on the floor, and regularly mopped the store during the day, including within 15 minutes of the plaintiff's accident. The plaintiff sued and the defendant moved for summary judgment, alleging that they had demonstrated reasonable care under the circumstances. The lower court granted defendant's motion and the plaintiff appealed. The First Department affirmed.


The First Department noted that the defendants "were not required to provide a constant ongoing remedy for an alleged slippery condition caused by moisture tracked indoors during a storm". The Court noted that the defendants had met their burden of employing reasonable maintenance measures by laying out a mat, placing a cone on the floor and mopping the store regularly during the day, including within 15 minutes of the plaintiff's accident. The Appellate Division found that these were reasonable measures to remedy a hazardous condition.


The Appellate Division also concluded that defendants did not have constructive notice of a dangerous wet condition. The First Department rejected the plaintiff's argument that the fact that it was snowing, with water and slush tracked in, constituted notice of a particular dangerous condition, which would have warranted more than the laying of floor mats.


This is a useful case to use as reference when there is an issue of cleaning up during an ongoing rainstorm or snowstorm. It can form the basis for a motion for summary judgment under the right set of facts as plaintiffs will always claim that more should have been done during an ongoing storm.


Should you have any questions, please call.

Thomas M. Bona