Missouri Attorney General Sues To Stop Duck Boat Company From Operating In The State
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has filed a lawsuit against the companies that operate tourist duck boats.
The suit comes after 17 people died when one of the boats sank near Branson on July 19.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Taney County, alleges that Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment had been on notice for decades of ongoing safety hazards that “posed a present and deadly danger to every person who boarded a duck boat.” It says the companies put their own profit over the safety of the passengers.
The suit also says the defendants committed fraud when they advertised that their boats were safe for all ages and abilities when they knew that the boats were flawed and could be unsafe in certain weather conditions.
It also points out that Missouri law mandates that any person on a boat under the age of 7 must wear a lifejacket. Three young children died in the incident.
Hawley is seeking to stop Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment from operating duck boats in Missouri.
“This tragedy should not have happened,” Hawley said in a statement. “As Missouri’s top law enforcement officer, I am charged with protecting Missouri consumers. My hope is that this lawsuit will ensure that unsafe duck boats and companies who put profits ahead of safety will not continue to operate. Consumers have a reasonable expectation of safety and that was not met on July 19.”
Two separate civil lawsuits have already been filed over the accident on behalf of the victims.
Ripley Entertainment did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the full petition here.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.