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Premises Liability: Court holds that claim of “old ice” in general vicinity of fall is not sufficient to defeat defendant’s summary judgment based on ongoing storm doctrine

The plaintiff alleges that he was injured when he fell on ice located on the defendant’s premises. The defendant moved for summary judgment, contending that, under the ongoing storm doctrine, the defendant did not owe the plaintiff a legal duty at the time of his injury.

The plaintiff, in opposition, relied upon an affidavit and certified meteorological records which he claimed present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the plaintiff fell on so-called “old ice,” precluding summary judgment. The court finds undisputed that there was an ongoing storm when the plaintiff fell, as the plaintiff himself testified that it was snowing at the time of the incident which was corroborated by the meteorological records submitted by the plaintiff. As such, the defendant met its burden under the ongoing storm doctrine and the plaintiff must therefore show that the conditions that caused the plaintiff to fall preexisted the ongoing storm and that the defendant had notice of these conditions.

The court finds that the plaintiff’s assertion that he saw ice in the general vicinity of where he fell a few days before is insufficient to satisfy his burden. The plaintiff submitted certified meteorological records to support his argument that ice was present in the days preceding his fall but these records, while supporting his argument that ice was present, do not raise a genuine issue of material fact that ice had in fact formed, was present in the area on the day he fell, establish its thickness, or when it was formed. How and when the ice formed, the court states, is therefore speculation and conjecture, and is insufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact.

The court finds that evidence that there was ice in the general vicinity of the accident is insufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant had actual or constructive notice. Thus, the court grants the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Carty v. Merch. 99-111 Founders, LLC, HHD-CV21- 6136904-S, 2023 WL 3194409 (Conn. Super. Ct. Apr. 28, 2023).