February 7, 2019 – Trial attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., (SMBB) whose firm has represented duck-boat disaster victims for nearly a decade, said today’s civil jury trial verdict in Seattle, Washington, is “another reminder that duck boats are death traps on land and water and should be banned immediately before they kill again.” Mongeluzzi’s firm presently represents 21 victims – including 10 passengers that drowned – in the July 19, 2018 duck-boat disaster on Table Rock Lake, Branson, Missouri. The Seattle jury collectively awarded about $115 million in damages to the plaintiffs, in connection with the tragedy that killed five international students.
“This verdict again highlights the documented dangers of duck boats, and shows that juries are willing to hold operators and designers of these converted World War II relics accountable for their actions,” said Mongeluzzi. “We’ve repeatedly asserted that they have absolutely no place on our streets or waterways because they pose an unacceptable risk to human life. How many more innocent people have to die before they are permanently grounded?”
In previous duck-boat cases, SMBB represented: the estates of two Hungarian student-tourists who drowned when their duck boat sank on the Delaware River in Philadelphia in 2010; the family of pedestrian Prof. Elizabeth Karnicki, who was run over and killed by a duck boat while crossing a street in Philadelphia in 2015.
“They are lethally dangerous because when on land they have limited visibility – significant blind spots – and are unwieldy because they’re a boat and are not required to comply with federal vehicle crashworthiness standards,” Mongeluzzi added. “And on the water, they are unseaworthy because they lack adequate buoyancy and when they sink, their rigid canopy traps passengers and pulls them down as the boat sinks like a weighted coffin.”