Boston Partner Joe Desmond and Associate Bill Wynne, obtained summary judgment on behalf of our client, a Reverend in the Episcopal Church, in a premises liability action in Essex Superior Court.   The plaintiff fell on ice in the church’s parking lot while walking from his car into the church for services, suffering a fractured hip that resulted in permanent impairment.    There was no dispute that the parking lot was covered by a sheet of ice that had not been treated on the morning of the plaintiff’s accident, and that it was the cause of the plaintiff’s fall.   The court was persuaded that despite her overall responsibility for the management of the Church’s operations, our client did not owe a personal duty of care by failing to personally ensure that the Church discharged its obligation as the owner of the premises to clear the parking lot for its parishioners.  Furthermore, we successfully argued that the plaintiff’s claim that our client should have cancelled the church services was barred by the First Amendment’s proscription against intrusion into the free practice of religion.  The decision to cancel a scheduled religious service is a religious decision for a church official, and not a decision  over which the courts have jurisdiction.