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AG takes issue with feds’ request in duck boat lawsuit

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Michael Thomas/Getty Images

A Ride The Ducks World War II DUKW boat is seen at Ride The Ducks on July 20, 2018, in Branson, Missouri.

Michael Thomas/Getty Images

A Ride The Ducks World War II DUKW boat is seen at Ride The Ducks on July 20, 2018, in Branson, Missouri.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office said a “blanket request” by federal prosecutors to hold up the state’s lawsuit against Branson duck boat operators would harm the case.Solicitor General Dean Sauer argued that a judge should instead send its suit against Ride the Ducks International and Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. back to state courts. If Judge Doug Harpool doesn’t, Sauer said he should instead deny the request by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stay discovery in the case.Prosecutors have made similar requests for a stay in discovery in each lawsuit filed against Ride the Ducks since the July 19 sinking of a boat that killed 17 people at Table Rock Lake. The attorney general filed a lawsuit last month against the companies, claiming they violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by “serially misrepresenting the characteristics and safety of their duck boat rides, while aggressively targeting vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, and the disabled.”Sauer said that the state would not have a problem with stay, so long as it came with a preliminary order barring Ride the Ducks from advertising itself as safe. Otherwise, Sauer said, a stay would “impair” the state’s ability to pursue its case, which it says outweighs the interests of the federal government in crafting its case.Assistant U.S. Attorneys Casey Clark and Randall Eggert claim discovery in the lawsuits could make their ongoing criminal investigation more difficult. Potential witnesses could impeach themselves in depositions and could allow the defendants to coordinate stories.Sauer said the …



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