Supreme Court upholds storm doctrine in slip and fall appeal

Members of the Delaware Supreme Court.

In a decision that came around the same time as the state’s bout with nasty weather, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld a Superior Court decision that denied a claim in a slip and fall case.

The suit came after Michael Laine, slipped and fell on ice near a gas pump a Dover Speedway station in 2014.

Laine was the driver of a Modern Maturity Center shuttle bus and slipped when he stepped off the shuttle to fill up he vehicle’s tank as freezing rain fell.The fall caused serious injuries and Laine sued the station.

The Superior Court decision determined that the station did not have to clean up the ice until the after the ice storm ended under what has become known as the continuing storm doctrine.


Laine’s lawyers argued that station workers should have warned motorists about the conditions.

The high court listed previous cases that were covered by the doctrine.

In one case involving the Prices Corner Shopping Center near Wilmington owners were liable because the parking. area had not been cleared of snow in a reasonable period of time.

In another case, the court ruled in favor of Dover Downs after a person fell on ice obscured by snow that had fallen earlier in the day and later resumed.

Click on the link below for the 15-page opinion.

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