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ARTICLE ID 50203

$________ Plaintiff government contractor slips and falls on ice covered by dusting of snow at Picatinny Arsenal - Plaintiff contends codefendant commercial tenant of abutting building assumed a duty to remove snow and ice from its prior conduct - Tenant had no written contractual snow removal obligations with defendant USA - Fall - Bi-malleolar fracture.

U.S. District Court of Newark, New Jersey

The plaintiff in his, mid-50s, was the owner of a contracting company and was visiting the defendant-tenant at its office at Picatinny Arsenal. The plaintiff maintained that he slipped on ice that was covered by a recent dusting of snow. The defendant denied obligation of snow removal.

The plaintiff contended that it had snowed earlier in the week and that the weather conditions permitted alternate thawing and freezing, creating a significant hazard that was covered by the dusting of snow.

The defendant-tenant denied that it had a duty to remove snow and pointed to the absence of such obligation in its written contract with the USA owner. The plaintiff countered that the tenant had removed snow on prior occasions and had thereby assumed such a duty. The plaintiff further pointed out that the defendant owner (United States of America) had a non-delegable duty. The defendants maintained that the plaintiff failed to walk with sufficient care and was comparatively negligent.

The plaintiff suffered a bimalleolar fracture to the right ankle and required the performance of an open reduction and the insertion of hardware, which will remain permanently. The plaintiff contended that he would suffer permanent pain and difficulties ambulating and be affected in his work capacity.

The defendants contended that the plaintiff’s business was faring poorly, notwithstanding his injury, and that it was doubtful that his business would have been successful even if the incident had not occurred.

The plaintiff would have argued that irrespective of this factor, the incident caused a very substantial diminution in earning capacity.

The case was submitted to federal arbitration. The arbitrator found the contractor 40% liable , the USA 60% liable and assessed an award of $________. The case settled prior to trial for $________ with the contractor contributing $________ and the government $________. The case would have been tried before the court in accordance with the Federal Tort Claims Act.

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