Duck Boat Lawsuit by AG Cites Decades of Ongoing Safety Hazards
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley wants the courts to keep Branson Duck Vehicles, LLC and Ripley Entertainment, Inc. from operating duck boats in Missouri. Hawley filed a petition today (Aug. 31, 2018) in the Circuit Court of Taney County.
The Attorney General’s Office alleges violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, which is the state’s principal consumer-protection statute.
On July 19th, 2018, seventeen people drowned while on a tour of Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri when their duck boat sank during severe weather. The petition cites safety violations that are alleged to have occurred that day, including ignoring life jacket requirements and weather warnings.
The suit alleges the defendants have “been on notice for decades of ongoing safety hazards that posed a present and deadly danger to every person who boarded a duck boat. Defendants kept that information from passengers and made false promises, fraudulent statements, and misrepresentations to consumers that safety was a top priority when in actuality it was their own profits.”
“This tragedy should not have happened,” Hawley said. “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.”