Gross Shuman Wins Appeal — Injury Claim Reinstated

February 17, 2016

The Appellate Division has unanimously reversed an order of the trial court that granted summary judgment and dismissal of plaintiff’s personal injury claim.

Spacht v. County of Chautauqua, 2015 N.Y. Slip Op. 08560, (4th Dept. 2015). Mr. Spacht was a business owner and commercial tenant of a building owned by the County of Chautauqua. The County lease agreement provided the County was required to perform snowplowing and shoveling services for the tenant to be completed by 8:00 a.m. Mr. Spacht slipped and fell on snow and ice that had accumulated in the parking lot where his vehicle was parked, resulting in a severe hip fracture requiring surgical repair and extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Although it was uncontroverted that defendant failed to perform snowplowing or shoveling services on the date of Mr. Spacht’s accident and injury, the trial court dismissed the claim based upon the contention of the County that snow and ice was not a proximate cause of the accident and that County employees would have been unable to clear snow and ice in the area where Mr. Spacht was caused to fall.

The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, reversed the trial court’s dismissal of Mr. Spacht’s claim, holding that speculation by the County as to whether a violation of the contractual duties to clear snow and ice was a cause of the accident and injuries should be left to a jury and was not properly determined by the trial court. The claim has been reinstated and will now proceed to trial in the Supreme Court, County of Chautauqua.

If you would like more information about this recent premises liability decision, have legal questions about personal injury claims, or need legal representation for an injury claim, contact Harry J. Forrest, Esq. at Gross Shuman P.C. by telephone (716- 854-4300) or email (