Governor Parson has signed Senate Bill 608, which guards businesses against liability for unpreventable third-party crimes occurring on business premises.
Under this law, a business will only be responsible for criminal or harmful acts on its property when it knows or has reason to know such acts are or are likely to be committed in a particular area and there is enough time to prevent them. A business can also claim as affirmative defenses that it had implemented reasonable security measures, that the incident occurred when the business was closed, or that the claimant was a trespasser or committing a felony.
Although Missouri common law already stated that businesses generally do not have a duty to protect individuals on their premises from criminal acts of third parties, confusing rulings by Missouri appellate courts led to the need for this clarification.
“Without these protections, Missouri businesses have been in danger of being held responsible for third-party crimes entirely outside their control,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “We’re grateful to Governor Parson for signing a bill that brings a common-sense fix to this muddied area of law and ensures businesses are protected from unfair liability.”