Judge rules 1851 law doesn't apply in duck boat case

7 months 2 days 21 hours ago Tuesday, December 03 2019 Dec 3, 2019 Tuesday, December 03, 2019 1:25:00 PM CST December 03, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that an 1851 maritime law does not protect a company from making payments to families of people aboard a tourist boat that sank on a Missouri lake, killing 17 people.

After the July 2018 sinking at Table Rock Lake near Branson, multiple lawsuits were filed against Ride the Ducks International, which owned the boat before Ripley Entertainment bought it.

The two companies asked U.S. District Judge Doug Harpool 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 Springfield News-Leader reports that Harpool ruled Friday the law doesn’t apply, in part because Table Rock Lake is not considered a "navigable waterway" under federal law.

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