Firms Sued Over Missouri Duck Boat Sinking Seek Mediation, Cite 1851 Law

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Two companies facing multiple lawsuits over a summer tourist boat accident in Missouri that killed 17 people have invoked an 1851 law that allows vessel owners to try to avoid or limit legal damages as they also seek settlement negotiations with victims’ family members.

Attorneys for Ripley Entertainment Inc., based in Orlando, Florida, and Branson Duck Vehicles of Branson, Missouri, cited the federal law in a filing in federal court, where multiple lawsuits are pending.
If a judge concludes that the laws are valid, claims for damages for damage to the 19 July crash of Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri can be combined into a single federal court case. According to the federal law, the company will not suffer any damage, because the ship is not carrying loads and total losses are stated.

But filing, Ripley and Branson came to lawyers shortly after a week. US District Judge M. Douglas asked Harpool to extend the length of his trial to extend a 90-day extension, thus reaching a potential solution. Harpool said he would assess the request at the November 1 hearing.

Ripley’s spokesperson, Suzanne Smagala-Potts, said the filing genre was “prevalent in allegations of maritime affairs”. The goal, he said, was to postpone multiple court cases to give the parties time to mediate.

Smagala-Potts said in a statement, “We have reached the most affected by the accident and we have offered to mediate their claims,” ​​he said. ”Mediation usually leads to a faster solution and allows the affected people to avoid a long litigation process and, most importantly, start the healing process.“

Ripley ran Ducks Rides at Table Rock Lake, while Branson Duck Vehicles had boats. The demands are “actively working” to plan mediation to solve cases of federal and state court, the parties said.

After a storm crossed the area, the tourist duck boat floated rough water over the lake. The victims involved nine members of an Indiana family, and a federal case claimed $ 100 million on behalf of two of their deceased family members.
The lawyers for the family members of the victims in this case did not immediately respond to comments on their phone and e-mail messages.

In this case, it is stated that boat operators have violated company policies by continuing their journey despite weather warnings and not telling passengers to wear life vests when they are sprayed. Instead, the driver of the boat lowered the plastic side curtains, which, according to the case, further tightened the passengers.

In a report dated August 2017, the case warned that Ripley Entertainment failed to undergo bad weather conditions when pumps that dewatered engines and trunks of ships. Furthermore, the accused accused of ignoring the warnings given by the National Transport Safety Committee, claim that the vehicles designed to operate on land and in water should be upgraded to ensure that they stand in bad weather.

Ripley Entertainment said the boat’s sinking was an ın unpredictable and unintentional event, sız and amphibious vehicle tours were in line with US Coast Guard regulations.

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