SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An injured woman who slipped in an Alaskan parking lot can sue the federal government for failing to remove snow and ice, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
Carol Bolt has been permanently disabled since April 1999, when she broke her ankle outside her U.S. Army apartment in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where winter temperatures fall to as low as -65 F degrees (-54 C).
Attorneys representing the government argued that it was not liable because the U.S. Army base has the same status as Alaskan municipalities, which cannot be sued for injuries caused by ice and snow that naturally accumulate.
But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the federal government should be treated as an Alaskan landlord, obliging it to keep common areas clear in the northern-most American state known for its ice and snow.