A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Homeowner Found Not Liable for Injury Resulting from Fall on Driveway During Ongoing Snowstorm

By on December 8, 2017 in Liability with 0 Comments

Plaintiff, Michael Mangone, a UPS delivery worker, suffered an injury due to a fall from snow on the driveway of defendant Beverly Beer. Plaintiff sued Beer, claiming negligence. The question in Mangone v. Beer, 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2855 (App. Div. Nov.16, 2017) was whether the defendant breached any duty of care owed to plaintiff.

At the time of the accident, the homeowner Beer was not home. She had requested from UPS a delivery of a package by 10:30 am. It was lightly snowing at the time of the incident and had snowed the previous day. About 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches of snow had accumulated on the ground.

The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant, holding that the homeowner did not breach any duty owed to the plaintiff. The plaintiff appealed this order to the Appellate Division.

The Appellate Division agreed that the plaintiff was a business invitee and was owed “a duty of care to provide him with a reasonably safe means to make his delivery.”  But, the Court found that New Jersey law did not impose a legal obligation on a residential property owner to clear a driveway during an ongoing snow storm. Instead, the Court held that a residential owner has “a duty under tort law to remove snow within a reasonable period of time after a snow event.”

Further, the Appellate Division noted that the plaintiff’s liability theory had issues with both proximate causation and comparative fault. UPS drivers are able to decline to attempt deliveries in “foul” weather.

Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint.

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About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

For the years 2020 and 2021, Ms. Ramos was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Litigation - Insurance. The attorneys on this list are selected based upon the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. A complete description of The Best Lawyers in America© methodology can be viewed via their website at: https://www.bestlawyers.com/methodology.

In 2021, Capehart Scatchard and Ms. Ramos received the “Best Law Firm” ranking in the area of Litigation – Insurance (Metro, Tier 3) published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. Law firms included on the list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have at least one attorney who has been included in the current edition of Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Betsy Ramos (Litigation – Insurance) was recognized for this prestigious award in the 2021 edition. For a description of the “Best Law Firm” selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

“Best Law Firms” is published by Best Lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report. For a description of the selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

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