Last summer, the Supreme Judicial Court blew a kiss to the plaintiffs’ bar. It went largely unnoticed perhaps because the decision involved snow removal and Bay Staters would rather not spend their summer days thinking about snow.
In the decision, the activist court jettisoned centuries of well cultivated precedent like they were throwing out the trash and adopted a new standard that places a harsh burden on property owners. As the AP reported last July:
Property owners may be held liable for snow-related injuries whether the accumulations are caused by Mother Nature or by snowplows, the state’s highest court ruled Monday in a far-reaching decision that attorneys said could result in a wave of personal injury lawsuits.
In its ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court eliminated a longheld distinction in state law between “natural” and “unnatural” accumulations of snow and ice.
For more than a century, case law in Massachusetts held that property owners who failed to remove natural accumulations could not be held liable. But the court found that owners have a duty to keep property reasonably safe.
“The biggest effect is that people who have suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of the landowner will be able to seek compensation, even in cases where the snow or ice accumulated naturally,” said David White, a Boston personal injury lawyer.
So you better get out there and shovel that snow early and often. Its your legal duty now. And when you’re breaking your back and looking for someone to curse, think of the SJC and the fools who appointed its liberal members.