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WHEN DID THE HOLE BECOME VISIBLE?

Plaintiff, a woman in her 40s, filed suit against a horse farm located in the Catskill Mountains of New York. She sustained severe injuries after the horse she was riding on, stepped into a hole located on a riding trail inside the expansive farm, and fell over, causing her to be thrown to the ground. The trail is maintained by the farm, and is open year-round. The incident took place in the month of December.

Defendant Horse Farm contended that they had no knowledge of the existence of the hole, as it was filled and covered by snow and ice from winter storm events which had occurred in the two week period leading up to the day of the incident.

At trial, the COMPUWEATHER forensic meteorologist testified that it had indeed snowed on two different occasions in the 10 day period leading up to the day of occurrence. However, temperatures and degree of sunshine during subsequent days after the last snow event would have been sufficient to cause the amount of snow that had accumulated, to melt away completely. This would have taken place at least 60 hours prior to the date and time of the incident.

Verdict came back in favor of plaintiff, based on COMPUWEATHER’S testimony that more than two days time would have passed in between the time that the hole became visible after the snow melted away, and the time that the accident occurred.