Just in Time for the Holiday Season

Illinois Supreme Court Issues New Ruling Involving Scope of the Snow and Ice Removal Act

Dec 6, 2016 | Categories: News | Tags: accident

On December 1st, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion in Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Mgmt. Servs., where it addressed the scope of the immunity provided under the Snow and Ice Removal Act (745 ILCS 75/0.01 et seq.) (Hereinafter "the Act"). 2016 IL 120394. Ultimately, the court held that the Act did not provide immunity to an owner and manager of a condominium complex on a negligence claim brought by a resident who slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk.

The Act provides immunity for negligent snow and ice removal efforts. However, the complaint alleged that the ice had formed in an unnatural way because of inadequate drainage and that the owner and manager were negligent in failing to make reasonable maintenance efforts to eliminate the danger after having been put on notice of the defective condition. The Illinois Supreme Court found that this allegation was not asserting negligent snow and ice removal efforts, and that the Act does not extend beyond those efforts.

Furthermore, the court disapproved the interpretation of the Act in Ryan v. Glen Ellyn Raintree Condominium Ass'n, 2014 Ill. App. 2d 130682, as contrary to, and improperly expanding, the plain language of the statute. This means, while condominium associations and apartment complexes have immunity from negligent removal of snow and ice, they can be held accountable for other negligent actions, such as design, construction, and maintence that cause residents to slip and fall. The Act does not extend beyond the negligent removal of snow and ice and therefore that is precisely where their immunity stops. This ruling comes after a sharp divide amongst the appellate courts and just in time for the wintery weather.