JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KOLR) — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a petition Friday urging Taney County Circuit Court to not allow Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment to operate in the state.
Seventeen people died on July 19 during a tour of Table Rock Lake. The duck boat they were on sank during severe weather. According to the news release, ignoring life jacket requirements and weather warnings are among the safety violations alleged to have occurred.
The petition alleges that Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment violated Missouri’s consumer-protection statute: the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
According to a news release from Hawley’s office, Hawley’s petition in Taney County circuit court asks the court to ban Branson Duck Vehicles, LLC and Ripley Entertainment Inc. from operating duck boats in Missouri.
“This tragedy should not have happened,” Hawley said in the release. “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.”
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.”