Plowing Ahead: Court Weighs Snow Removers’ Contractual Duty Against Natural Accumulation Rule

 Tuesday, February 25, 2020

 CLM Magazine

In many parts of the U.S., like it or not, snow and ice are absolutes this time of year, creating conditions that can be dangerous to walk through, drive in, and remove. Regardless of local laws, the removal of snow and ice is necessary to keep businesses running.

When selling snow-removal services, it is not uncommon for property owners to demand, and contractors to agree to, removal of “all” snow and ice.

Contractors also routinely agree to monitor the property, but generally provide no specificity as to how or when that monitoring will be performed.

Property owners and occupiers sometimes impose a “zero tolerance” of snow and ice on their properties. In such instances, contracts may contain language that the premises will be “kept safe” and “free of all snow and ice.”

These absolutist contractual protections may sound good for business, but what are the legal implications of such language?