SJC melts old snow/ice accumulation standard

The SJC in Papadopoulos v. Target Corp abandoned the bizarre Mass. distinction between "natural and unnatural accumulations of snow and ice" which had constituted an exception to the general rule of premises liability that a property owner owes a duty to all lawful visitors to use reasonable care.

The new standard: "We now will apply to hazards arising from snow and ice the same obligation that a property owner owes to lawful visitors as to all other hazards: a duty to act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances including the likelihood of injury to others, the probable seriousness of such injuries, and the burden of reducing or avoiding the risk. … If a property owner knows or reasonably should know of a dangerous condition on its property, whether arising from an accumulation of snow or ice, or rust on a railing, or a discarded banana peel, the property owner owes a duty to lawful visitors to make reasonable efforts to protect lawful visitors against the danger.

Bottom line: start shoveling.