Judge Rules 1851 Law Does Not Apply To Duck Boat Sinking

A federal judge has ruled that an 1851 maritime law does not protect a company from making payments to the families of 17 people that drowned when a tourist duck boat sank in Table Rock Lake near Branson in July of 2018.

After the boat sank, multiple lawsuits were filed against Ride the Ducks International, which owned the boat before Ripley Entertainment bought it.

The two companies asked the court last year to find the 1851 Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act meant damages due to survivors or relatives of those who drowned could be capped at no more than the value of the sunken boat, which is zero dollars.

The judge ruled the law doesn’t apply because the lake is not considered a navigable waterway.

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