Missouri: Commission Resuscitates Extended Premises Doctrine

Missouri: Commission Resuscitates Extended Premises Doctrine

Rumors of the death of the extended premises doctrine were premature, according to a recent case from the Commission.

In Viley v Scholastic, 2014 MO WCLR Lexis 56 (lexis.com), 2014 MO WCLR Lexis 56 (Lexis Advance)  (April 16, 2014),  the Commission reversed a denial of benefits when claimant fell on a plowed parking lot not owned by the employer.  A worker could bring claims from injuries in parking lots not owned by the employer provided the worker showed “control” and that portion of such premises is a part of the customary, expressly or impliedly approved, permitted, usual and acceptable route or means employed by workmen to get to and depart from their places of labor and is being used for such purpose at the time of the injury."

Viley injured his knee when he fell on snow in a plowed area of a parking lot after his work shift and parked in a place he customarily parked.  The commission concluded that the employer could control access to the lot although this provision was not strictly enforced by the employer.  “When [the] employer contacted the landlord to request maintenance for the lots -- a service the landlord was obligated to perform under the terms of the lease -- employer exercised a contractually bargained-for influence over the lots.” (emphasis added)

The Commission also noted the lot was “dimly lit,” although the decision does not rely upon the findings as a unique combinations of occupational risks as in previous cases.  Hunter v Benchmark Healthcare of Harrisonville, 2014 Mo WCLR Lexis 8 (lexis.com), 2014 Mo WCLR Lexis 8 (Lexis Advance) (January 15, 2014)

In  Duever v All Outdoors, Inc., 371 S.W.3d 863 (lexis.com),  371 S.W.3d 863 (Lexis Advance) (Mo App. 2012)  the owner fell on an icy parking lot early right after a safety meeting.  Viley is factually distinguishable from Hager v Syberg’s Westport, 304 S.W.3d 771 (lexis.com), 304 S.W.3d 771 (Lexis Advance) (Mo. App. 2010) which found no control and no hazard that was not equal to non-employment life. 

Source: Martin Klug, Huck, Howe & Tobin. Read Martin Klug’s Mo. Workers’ Comp Alerts.

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