According to a report filed in federal court, the owners of a duck boat that sank July 19, 2018, in Table Rock Lake, killing 17 people, have settled 19 lawsuits brought against the company in federal and state court, and are still working on trying to settle another 14 cases.
The quarterly report was filed July 1. It states that 19 of 33 cases against Ride the Ducks owner Ripley Entertainment have been settled, although final documentation is till being prepared for 18 of those cases.
Of the remaining 14 cases, six are “currently being negotiated, through either continued mediation or negotiation,” according to the document.
One more case is scheduled for mediation on July 15.
The remaining seven “have not yet been scheduled for mediation.” Presumably, any of those cases could still go to trial, although a federal judge has yet to rule on a motion by Ripley Entertainment that Table Rock Lake is a navigable waterway and, therefore, a 1851 Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act would apply, limiting the company’s liability to the total value of the vessel.
In addition to those 33 civil cases, a federal criminal investigation has resulted in indictments against three individuals. Duck captain Kenneth Scott McKee was indicted in November 2018. Last month, Ride the Ducks Branson General Manager Curtis P. Lanham, and Ride the Ducks Branson Operations Supervisor Charles V. Baltzell were also indicted.
Ripley Entertainment Public Relations Manager Suzanne Smagala-Potts issued the following statement in an email:
“The report that was filed with the court demonstrates Branson Ride The Ducks’ continuing commitment to work with the victims and families who were affected by the unprecedented storm and resulting accident that occurred last July. While we know lives lost cannot be replaced, the report outlines that we have reached settlements with many of the families, and continue to work with others. Out of respect for the privacy of the families, we will not discuss the details of any settlement.”