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Snow and Ice on Church Property

Failure to clear church property can result in unexpected liabilities.

• Failure to remove snow and ice from church property can result in unexpected liabilities. The Montana Supreme Court upheld a jury's award of more than $400,000 to a young woman who was injured when she slipped and fell on an icy church sidewalk. The woman had arrived at the church at 6AM to perform volunteer work. Several inches of snow had fallen during the night, but she entered the church without difficulty. While she was in the church, the church janitor shoveled the sidewalks. Usually, he applied salt shoveled sidewalks to prevent ice accumulation, but on this occasion he did not. By 9AM, the woman had completed her activities, and exited the building. As she left, she noticed that the sidewalk had been shoveled, and she started to walk towards her car. The sidewalk was level for several feet, and she had no difficulty negotiating it. However, the last several feet of the sidewalk ...

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  • March 1, 1991

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