CASE WILL TEST HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS’ LIABILITY FOR ICY SIDEWALK

Many homeowners in New Jersey live in Condominium Associations where the Association hires an outside company to handle all snow removal and spreading of salt in the winter months. The NJ Supreme Court is now considering whether homeowners’ associations and their maintenance contractors can be held liable for injuries caused when they fail to clear snow and ice from their sidewalks.

In Qian v. Toll Brothers, an attorney representing a woman injured in a slip-and-fall on an icy sidewalk in a private residential community is asking the NJ Supreme Court to overturn two lower court rulings that said that the homeowners’ association and their contractor could not be held liable.

The New Jersey Association of Justice, who is also participating in the case, argued that If homeowners’ associations are told that they have no responsibility to maintain walkways, the clear message they will receive is that they no longer have to worry that the failure to maintain the walkways will lead to any finding of liability on their part.

Both a trial judge and the Appellate Division found that that the Homeowners Association had immunity from liability.

The question now is, “What will the New Jersey Supreme Court decide?”

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