A business must act reasonably to remove snow and ice from outdoor areas like parking lots. In Carter v. Bullitt Host LLC (d/b/a Holiday Inn Express), the Kentucky Supreme Court announced that the open and obvious nature of snow and ice would no longer be a complete defense to relieve businesses from ANY liability. The Plaintiff in that case fell on ice under a carport at a hotel.
The Kentucky Supreme Court stated, “But it is just as true under comparative fault as it has always been that if a landowner has done everything that is reasonable under the circumstances, he has committed no breach, and cannot be held liable to the plaintiff.”
The Kentucky Supreme Court also explained that the fault of both the Plaintiff in not watching out for the snow and ice and the defendant in not taking care in the circumstances must be determined: “But under comparative fault, every person has a duty of ordinary care in light of the situation, and that duty applies equally to plaintiffs and defendants. For fault to be placed on either party, a party must have breached his duty; and if there is a breach, fault must be apportioned based on the extent a party’s breach caused or helped cause harm to the plaintiff.”
Julie Tennyson is a licensed patent attorney and assists clients in trademark, copyright, trade secret, and business matters including start-ups, contracts, employment, licensing and transfers. Ms. Tennyson is a partner at Marcum Tennyson PLLC.