Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has filed a lawsuit against the owner of Ride the Ducks duck-boat company over the accident that killed 17 people in July. The lawsuit alleges that the company took the duck boat out amid a thunderstorm to “avoid paying refunds” to customers. The Kansas City Star reports that the 29-page complaint also accuses parent company Ripley Entertainment of knowing that the boats have “mechanical issues” but doing nothing to “redesign the vessels to try to get them to pass transportation regulations.” The lawsuit alleges that both companies violated a Missouri law that prohibits “fraud and deception in the sale of goods and services.” “This tragedy should not have happened,” Hawley said in a statement. “Consumers have a reasonable expectation of safety and that was not met on July 19.” Federal prosecutors in Missouri have also filed a separate criminal inquiry into the deadly incident that happened earlier this summer. A Ride the Ducks duck boat capsized in the Branson lake in July, killing 17 people—many of whom were young children—and injuring several others. A $100 million lawsuit was filed by one family who lost nine of their family members in the accident, claiming that the boat operators knew about the “impending severe weather conditions” but took the boat out anyway.
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