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The Latest: Lawyers blast legal move in fatal boat accident

BRANSON, Mo. — The Latest on the lawsuits over a July tourist boat accident in Missouri that killed 17 people (all times local):

A survivor of a July tourist boat accident that killed 17 people in Missouri and attorneys representing deceased family members are calling the latest legal filing by two companies facing multiple lawsuits insulting and insensitive.

The attorneys also said Monday night in a statement that there have been no settlement offers.

In their filing, lawyers for Florida-based Ripley Entertainment Inc. and Missouri-based Branson Duck Vehicles cited an 1851 federal law that allows vessel owners to try to avoid or limit legal damages. They said under its terms, the companies are not liable for any damages.

But a Ripley spokeswoman said the company is seeking mediation toward settling all claims.

Robert J. Mongeluzzi is a Philadelphia attorney representing many of the accident victims and called the filing “frivolous.” Survivor Tia Coleman also decried the filing.

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Two companies facing multiple federal lawsuits over a summer tourist boat accident in Missouri that killed 17 people are invoking an 1851 law that allows vessel owners to try to avoid or limit legal damages.

But the companies also say they’re seeking settlement negotiations with victims’ family members.

Attorneys for Florida-based Ripley Entertainment Inc. and Missouri-based Branson Duck Vehicles cited the old federal law Monday in a court filing.

If a judge concludes that the law applies, claims for damages over the July 19 accident on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, could be consolidated into a single case.

But the filing came less than a week after the companies asked a judge for a 90-day extension of court filing deadlines so they could pursue a potential settlement.

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