Negligence - Icy Roads

Dennis v. Blackwell and City of Birmingham, [Ms. 2170633, Oct. 26, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2018). The court (Moore, J.; and Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson, JJ., concur; Thompson, P.J., concurs in the result) affirms the Jefferson Circuit Court’s entry of summary judgment entered in favor of the City of Birmingham and its police officer whose police vehicle skidded on an icy road into the plaintiff’s vehicle. In affirming, the court noted that plaintiff “cites no law indicating that a motorist is liable for negligence merely for driving in weather conditions such as those existing on the day of the accident at issue in this case. Because [plaintiff] has shown only the mere skidding of an automobile on an icy street, which does not necessarily prove negligence of the driver of the car, we conclude that she has failed to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether [Officer] Blackwell acted negligently.’” Ms. *10 (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

The court went on to note that “[r]egardless of whether the weather conditions could properly be deemed an ‘act of God’ under Alabama law, ... ‘accidents produced exclusively by skidding on an ice-covered surface of a road, and which are not contributed to by nonobservance of some other precautionary requirement, will not support a cause of action based on negligence.’” Ms. *10-11, quoting [National Biscuit Co. v.] Wilson, 256 Ala. [241, 245,] 54 So. 2d [492,] 495 [(1951)].

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