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Premises Liability: Appellate Court finds condominium owner not liable for resident’s injuries from a slip and fall occurring on icy steps and walkway

Plaintiff, Herrera, a resident of the condominium unit owned by the defendant, alleged that he was returning home to his condominium at approximately 12:30 a.m. when he slipped and fell due to the icy condition of the exterior steps and walkway on the premises. The defendant then filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that there was an ongoing storm at the time of the subject incident or that a reasonable time had not lapsed following the completion of the storm for them to have remediated the snowy or icy condition. Pursuant to the ongoing storm doctrine, a property owned “may await the end of a storm and a reasonable time thereafter before removing ice and snow from outside walks and steps.” The defendant submitted excerpts from the plaintiff’s deposition testimony, a copy of Article IV, § 17-52 of the Glastonbury Code of ordinances which provided a twenty-four-hour grace period for the removal of snow, sleet, and ice after the cessation of precipitation, and the affidavit of Robert Cox who opined about the weather conditions in Glastonbury at the time. The trial court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed. The plaintiff contended that there is still a questions of material fact as to whether the defendants had a reasonable time to remediate the ice. The Appellate Court found that the plaintiff failed to argue distinctly that issues of material fact remained and therefore the court declined to consider these issues. The plaintiff also contended that the evidence showed that the defendants did have a reasonable time to remediate the icy condition but either did not do so or did so negligently. Plaintiff argued that “[v]iewing the evidence most favorably to [the plaintiff], a reasonable person could conclude that the defendants, despite being present with ample time and personnel, either did not salt as they claim that they did or did not salt adequately” which creates a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendants were negligent. The Appellate Court reviews the trial court’s findings that the plaintiff offered no evidence as to the time the salt had been applied, whether the efficacy of the salt application was deteriorated, or that the application of salt rendered the condition more defective. Although the plaintiff testified in his deposition that snow removal and salt application had not been performed, the plaintiff submitted testimony of two individuals who claimed to have shoveled and salted the complex and made efforts to remediate during the storm. It is unclear whether the individuals salted the steps where the plaintiff fell and the Appellate Court concludes that the plaintiff’s claims are based on mere speculation or conjecture and that the plaintiff failed to substantiate his adverse claim in his objection to the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Therefore, the Court concludes that the trial court properly found that the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Herrera v. Meadow Hill, Inc. 217 Conn. App. 671, 290 A.3d 377 (2023).