Duck Boat Operators withdraw appeal of $123-million verdict

Two companies responsible for “Ride the Ducks” amphibious tour vehicles have withdrawn their appeal of a $123-million verdict awarded by a jury in February 2019. Five people were killed and more than 60 were injured in 2015 when an axle failure caused one of the vehicles to veer across the center line of a bridge and strike a chartered bus in Seattle.

The bus, operated by Bellair Charters of Ferndale, Washington, was carrying international students to North Seattle College. Jurors awarded damages from Ride the Ducks International of Branson, Missouri, which built the vehicle, and the operator, Ride the Ducks of Seattle. The 40 plaintiffs will receive $40,000 to $25 million.

The Ride the Ducks businesses told a judge on April 24 they also had agreed to a $7 million settlement with German au pair Carolin Scholz, who was riding in the duck and suffered severe facial injuries.

The companies settled another suit last year for $8.25 million with four plaintiffs, including the family of a passenger who was killed, the Seattle Times reported. Trial testimony showed that operators were aware of axle weaknesses on the modified World War II-era vehicles.

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