In a recent case, Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc., the Illinois Supreme Court considered whether Illinois’ Snow and Ice Removal Act prevents plaintiffs from suing for negligent maintenance of premises that causes ice or snow accumulation. In that case, a woman brought a premises liability lawsuit against a condominium association in Carol Stream, Illinois after she fell on an icy sidewalk.
According to the facts outlined in the court’s opinion, the area had a major snowstorm, and the condominium association had cleared the sidewalks. Eleven days later, the plaintiff fell and broke her leg, knee, and hip. The plaintiff alleged that the condominium association negligently designed the area to allow for the proper drainage of the snowmelt, failed to repair the sidewalks, failed to comply with maintenance codes, and failed to prevent the unnatural accumulation of ice.
The trial court determined the claim was barred because residential owners and operators are immune for negligent acts under Illinois’ Snow and Ice Removal Act. However, Illinois’ Supreme Court found the claim was not barred. It explained that the Snow and Ice Removal Act confers immunity from claims caused by icy sidewalks due to negligent snow and ice removal efforts. However, the court explained that the plaintiff’s claim here did not allege negligent snow and ice removal efforts, but instead it alleged negligent design and maintenance of the area. Considering the intent of the Act, the Court found the Act does not preclude claims caused by icy sidewalks resulting from other negligent premises liability theories.