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Skating Through Snow and Ice Mishaps - A Primer in New Hampshire’s Premises Liability Law

New Hampshire
January 27, 2021
January 27, 2021
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In New Hampshire, “[a] premises owner owes a duty to entrants to use ordinary care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, to warn entrants of dangerous conditions and to take reasonable precautions to protect them against foreseeable dangers arising out of the arrangements or use of the premises.” Rallis v. Demoulas Super Markets, Inc., 159 N.H. 95, 99 (2009) (internal citations omitted) “[A] premises owner is subject to liability for harm caused to entrants on the premises if the harm results either from: (1) the owner's failure to carry out his activities with reasonable care; or (2) the owner's failure to remedy or give warning of a dangerous condition of which he knows or in the exercise of reasonable care should know. Id., (citing Partin v. Great A & P Tea Co., 102 N.H. 62, 63-64 (1959)). “[T]he owner's failure to remedy or warn of a dangerous condition of which he knows or in the exercise of reasonable care should know-the landowner's duty of care depends upon whether he had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition.” Rallis, 159 N.H. at 99, citing to Partin, 102 N.H. at 64.

Snow Removal/Storm in Progress Doctrine

In addition, New Hampshire has not adopted the “storm in progress” doctrine. Under New Hampshire law, premises owners are governed by the test of reasonable care under all the circumstances in the maintenance and operation of their premises. Simpson v. Wal-Mart Stores, 144 N.H. 571, 574 (1999). “A premises owner owes a duty to entrants to use ordinary care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, to warn entrants of dangerous conditions, and to take reasonable precautions to protect them against foreseeable dangers arising out of the arrangements or use of the premises.” Rallis, 159 N.H. at 99 (internal citations omitted). “[A] premises owner is subject to liability for harm caused to entrants on the premises if the harm results either from: (1) the owner's failure to carry out his activities with reasonable care; or (2) the owner's failure to remedy or give warning of a dangerous condition of which he knows or in the exercise of reasonable care should know. Id., (citing Partin v. Great A & P Tea Co., 102 N.H. 62, 63-64 (1959)). A landowner may have constructive knowledge of a defective condition, based on the length of time it had been there. See Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Philip, 112 N.H. 282, 283 (1972); Partin, 102 N.H. at 64