BRANSON, Mo- The federal government is seeking to intervene in investigations for civil suits pertaining to the July 19 sinking of a Duck boat on Table Rock Lake that took the lives of 17 passengers.
Motions filed on Wednesday in federal court asking a judge for an order that would allow the United States to intervene in the civil actions filed by survivors of those killed in the sinking “to stay discovery until completion of criminal proceedings” in the case.
Federal investigators are preparing a criminal case against Ripley Entertainment, Inc., owners and operators of Ride the Ducks. That company and some of the employees of that company are the targets or subjects of the government’s criminal investigation.
“To avoid prejudice to its criminal investigation,” the government’s motion states, it seeks to halt civil attorneys’ requests for documents in the criminal investigation.
“It is virtually inevitable that any discovery sought in this case will interfere with the Government’s investigation,” the motion states.
Documents show that there are four civil lawsuits filed against Ride the Ducks. Three of which are from the Coleman family and the other is from the Asher family.
Both the Colemans and Ashers lost family members in the duck boat tragedy on Table Rock Lake on July 19. A total of 17 people died, 11 of which were members of the Coleman Family.
There is another civil lawsuit filed by the daughters of William and Janice Bright from Higginsville, Missouri, were in Branson celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary and who died on the duck boat.