While attempting to disembark a bus owned and operated by the defendants, the plaintiff slipped on a step which she described as wet and slushy, and fell from the bus. It is undisputed that a heavy snow had fallen several days earlier and that passengers were tracking snow, slush, and water from the ground onto the bus.
In trying to establish liability against the bus company, however, the court ruled that:
under the weather conditions which [sic] existed at the time of the accident, it would be unreasonable to expect the defendants to constantly clean the floors of their buses.
My own feeling is that juries don’t like such cases, and great care should be taken when selecting them. If a sidewalk trap has existed for years it is one thing, but sloppy/slushy conditions bring with it risks that are sometimes unreasonable to shift to another.
On the flip side, an interesting approach to the issue might have been to discuss the flooring of the steps, and the potential use of outdoor carpets or other materials to make the steps slip-resistant in adverse conditions (the way office buildings lay out the mats) but there was no such discussion in the record.
The case is McKenizie v. County of Westchester, from New York’s Appellate Division, Second Department.