Summary Judgment Granted for Snow Plow Company in Slip and Fall Case

November 28, 2011

Attorneys Noonan and Cannavino for the Defendant

Attorneys James J. Noonan and John W. Cannavino, Jr., obtained summary judgment on behalf of a large scale snow plowing operation. The snow plow operator had been hired to perform services at a large apartment complex in New London, Connecticut. The decedent, a tenant at the complex, slipped and fell while exiting his vehicle, breaking his hip. The decedent subsequently passed from unrelated conditions. 

The decedent's executrix brought suit against the apartment complex and the snow plow contractor. Attorneys Noonan and Cannavino filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the contractor owed no duty to the plaintiff because the contract did not obligate the contractor to clean the areas between vehicles, even though the practice of the contractor was to clean such areas after the vehicles had been moved. The plaintiff objected on the grounds that the contract was ambiguous as to whether the contractor had such an obligation and regardless, the contractor had assumed the duty to do so by its habit and practice. 

The court granted summary judgment on the grounds that the firm's client had no duty to the plaintiff's decedent because the contract did not obligate the contractor to perform the very services the plaintiff complained were not done. Further, the court rejected the modification of the contract based on the parties' conduct because both parties to the contract expressly disavowed any modification.