The owners and operators of a tourist boat that sank earlier this month in Missouri, killing 17 people, put profits over people’s safety when they decided to put the Ride the Ducks boat on a lake despite design problems and warnings of severe weather, a lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit filed Sunday in US District Court in Kansas City seeks $100 million in damages on behalf of two of nine members of an Indiana family who died when the tourist boat sank July 19 at Table Rock Lake near Branson. Others killed were from Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri.
“This tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven, and willful ignorance of safety by the Duck Boat industry in the face of specific and repeated warnings that their Duck Boats are death traps for passengers and pose grave danger to the public on water and on land,” the lawsuit alleges.
Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing are named in the lawsuit, which was filed by a team led by a Philadelphia-based legal firm that has litigated previous lawsuits involving duck boats.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estates of Ervin Coleman, 76, and Maxwell Ly, 2. Maxwell was identified by authorities as Maxwell Coleman after the boat sank.
Court documents accuse Ripley Entertainment and the other defendants of negligence, product liability, outrageous conduct, wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
Prosecuting lawyer Robert J. Mongeluzzi said at a news conference on Monday that the lawsuit will “search for answers and justice for the victims” in the duck boat capsize.
“The quest for justice includes doing everything within our power to ban duck boats once and for all,” he said. “As we have done in other duck boat wrongful death cases, we will demonstrate at trial why duck boats are death traps and why they should once and for all be banned from operating on water and on land.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Kelly McLaughlin; The Associated Press