Illinois Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets the Scope of the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act For Residential Property Owners

By: Patrick E. Foppe, Lashly & Baer, P.C.
The Illinois Supreme Court recently resolved a conflict as to the scope of the immunity provided under the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act (745 ILCS 75/0.01 et seq.). There had been a split among the appellate districts as to whether the immunity provided by the Act was limited to the consequences of snow removal efforts, or whether the immunity extended more broadly to negligence arising from a defective condition on the property. In the case, Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc., the Supreme Court adopted the narrower view of the immunity, following closely to the words of the statute. The Supreme Court unanimously held that the Act provides immunity to residential property owners (including any “lessor, occupant or other person in charge of any residential property, or any agent of or other person engaged by any such party”) from claims of liability caused by icy sidewalks which result from negligent snow and ice removal efforts, “but it does not extend to immunize them from claims of liability from injuries allegedly caused by icy sidewalks which result from an otherwise negligent failure to maintain the premises.” The Act does not apply to owners of non-residential commercial premises.

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