Duty of Care for Business Proprietor

The proprietor of a business establishment owes a duty of care to customers and invitees when they come upon the business premises at the proprietorís express or implied invitation.

The business premises include property owned, possessed or controlled by the proprietor.

This duty of care requires the proprietor to exercise reasonable care to discover whether accidental, negligent or intentionally harmful acts of third persons are occurring or are likely to occur on the business premises. If a proprietor knows, or should know that these types of acts are occurring or are likely to occur, the proprietor has the following duties to the customer or invitee:

A warning will not be adequate when it is apparent that because of a lack of time or the character of the conduct to be expected, it will not be effective to give protection.

A failure by the proprietor to perform a duty of care is negligence.

The proprietor does not have a duty to control the misconduct of third persons which the proprietor has no reason to anticipate, or no reasonable opportunity or means to prevent, or which occurs on the property neither owned, possessed nor controlled by the proprietor.

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