After months of a record cold New York winter, formerly safe passageways, paths, and sidewalks have all too often become dangerous as they are covered in ice and snow. While diligent property owners and municipalities do their part to keep all routes safe some of them inevitably fail to shovel and salt. As a result, many New Yorkers have no choice but to risk trying to walk through the ice and snow to get where they need to go.
On February 12, 2015, the federal government announced that it will begin to rate nursing homes more stringently. Nursing homes are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, and the new rules will make it more difficult for a nursing home to earn a 4- or 5-star rating. Thomas Hamilton, the director the group within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, which oversees the rating system said, "In effect, [the new changes] raises the standard for nursing homes to achieve a high rating."
Due to several recent snow storms, salt from the roadway is believed to have caused deterioration of electrical cables resulting in a multitude of manhole explosions in the New York City area last month. Unfortunately, one of these exploding manholes struck an elderly Brooklyn man in the head as he was walking his dog, critically injuring him.
In New York City, a landowner has the duty to clear snow and ice from the sidewalk, and their failure to do so can be the basis for liability in a slip and fall case. This is true for a private landowner, as well as the City. However, a long standing defense for landowners in snow and ice cases is the "Storm in Progress" defense. Courts have long recognized that the duty of the property owner to clear snow and ice from public paths, parking lots, roadways, and sidewalks, does not commence until a reasonably sufficient time after a storm has ended.