Hold your own darn liability


By: Joshua Ferguson

The Pennsylvania legislature seeks to adjust risk transfer between parties to snow and ice management services contracts. By a unanimous vote, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved the Snow Removal Limited Liability Act, House Bill 1665, sending it on to the state senate where it has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee. 

The bill includes language that defense or indemnity for “damages, claims, losses, or expenses arising out of bodily injury to persons, damage to property or economic damage caused by or resulting from the [service] receiver’s negligence, in whole or in part, shall be void if the provider has been directed not to perform the snow removal or ice control services by the receiver.” (The General Assembly of Pennsylvania, House Bill No. 1665

Pa. State Representative Chris Quinn, the bill’s sponsor, stated that “These unfair clauses are often used by many big box retail chains to force small business owners (snow contractors) to assume liability, which should be borne by the property owner.” 

The Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) has pointed out on an number of occasions that many snow and ice management contractors are not required to remove snow until a certain depth trigger is met, which could be from one up to three inches. (Kevin Gilbride, President of the ASCA). A boilerplate indemnification could potentially have the contractor assume liability under that trigger depth even though they are under no contractual obligation to remove snow. 

Similar snow and ice related indemnification limiting bills have been passed in Illinois, Colorado and Connecticut. For further information or inquiries please contact Joshua Ferguson at