Two More Branson, Missouri Duck Boat Disaster Lawsuits Filed Victims’ Relatives Describe Life After ‘Our Family Tree is Broken’

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Two More Branson, Missouri Duck Boat Disaster Lawsuits Filed Victims’ Relatives Describe Life After ‘Our Family Tree Is Broken’

Indianapolis, IN (July 31, 2018) – Attorneys today filed a lawsuit on behalf of two more drowning victims from Indianapolis in the Branson, Missouri duck boat disaster, followed by some of their family members – who lost nine loved ones in the tragedy that claimed 17 lives – calling for justice for the victims, which would include a national duck boat ban so “no other family will feel the same wrenching pain of having their family tree broken and hearts shattered”

Trial lawyer Robert J. Mongeluzzi, along with his partners Andrew R. Duffy and Jeffrey P. Goodman, announced the new wrongful death case filing in Federal court

(Estates of Belinda Coleman and Angela Coleman vs. Ripley Entertainment, Inc., et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri 6:18-cv-03226). The lawsuit names the same defendants that operates as a group the largest fleet of duck boats in the nation, and alleges, as in the first filings, the same litany of willful and reckless actions that led to the ‘predictable and preventable’ July 19th tragedy on Table Rock Lake. Eleven members of the vacationing (annual reunion) Rose-Coleman family – spanning three generations – boarded the duck boat that ominous day. Only two survived.

Sisters Lisa D. Berry and Marlo Rose Wells, among the family’s surviving matriarchs, are the co-administrators of the estates of their sister, Belinda ‘Toni’ Coleman, 69, and niece, Angela ‘Angiee’ Coleman, 45. Monday’s first complaints, also filed in Federal court in Kansas City, were filed on behalf of Ervin ‘Ray’ Coleman, 76, Belinda’s brother-in-law, and 2-year-old Maxwell Coleman Ly, Angela’s youngest son (her 13-year-old son, Donovan, is among the two survivors.) Horace ‘Butch’ Coleman, 70, Toni’s husband of 45 years, also drowned.

Ms. Berry, an Indianapolis resident, stated, “Love is what has united our family over the generations. It is what has made our family tree grow strong, branch out. Sometimes bending through struggles. But never breaking. Until now. When that duck boat sank, with 11 of our family members aboard, our family tree was broken.”

A union electrician in Indianapolis for more than 30 years, Ms. Berry added, “I know the meaning of safety, and I know as does the whole world that duck boat was unsafe. And the owners and operator knew for years it was unsafe and that is why my loved ones – so many beloved branches on our family tree – were severed forever.”

Kyrie Rose, a Coleman cousin, joined Ms. Berry in calling for justice for all the victims and an end to the use of dangerous duck boats – labeled death traps by Mr. Mongeluzzi and other public safety advocates.

“You cannot imagine how close our extended family has been. Taking annual reunion road trips was not just a tradition, it was our way of life, of expressing our love and respect for one another. Of sharing our hopes and dreams, one generation, to another, to another. The elders mentored the younger family members and they some day would follow that path.”

Mrs. Rose, also an Indianapolis resident, added, “Our youngest family members cannot totally understand this tragedy, but they understand enough to know that we are angry to the core of our souls because we realize every minute of every day all these deaths were preventable. We should not be mourning now. We should be rejoicing, enjoying family picnics, planning birthdays – such as Maxwell’s who would have turned Three last Friday – next year’s Coleman Family Reunion. Not nine burials for our loved ones. No, we must not let this happen again to anyone else. Anywhere. On land or on water. We must stop dangerous, deadly duck boats before they kill again.”

Named as initial defendants in the multi-count complaint are:

  • Ripley Entertainment, Inc. – Orlando, FL
  • Ride the Ducks International LLC – Jefferson City, MO
  • Ride the Ducks of Branson, LLC – Branson, MO
  • Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation – Branson, MO
  • Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing, LLC. – Branson, MO

Ripley Entertainment International purchased the Branson duck boat operation from Herschend last December.

Mr. Mongeluzzi stated that the reckless disregard for safety by Ride The Ducks was on display nearly two decades ago when it ignored safety concerns raised by the NTSB.

The clients are also represented by Missouri co-counsel Attorney Gregory Aleshire, Attorney William R. Robb, and Attorney Kevin J. Rapp.

Contact: Steph Rosenfeld / / 215.514.4101

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