Seattle attorney Charles Herrmann of the Herrmann Scholbe law firm filed the first lawsuit arising out of the Duck Boat crash on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle Sept. 24.
The plaintiff victim Na Ra Yoon is a 21-year old Korean student who had just arrived in the USA to attend North Seattle College. She was a passenger on the tour bus that was struck by a Duck Boat when it crossed the center line. According to the complaint filed in King County Superior Court, Yoon was knocked unconscious by a blow to her head, suffered fractures in both hands, multiple bruises, and post-traumatic stress. The suit does not specify the amount of money sought.
The Ride the Ducks International, (RTDI), which is headquartered in Georgia was included as a defendant along with Ride the Ducks of Seattle and its driver because the Georgia business had remanufactured “Duck 6” in 2005, converting it from a WWII vintage amphibious DUKW into the current Duck Boat moniker. It then sold the duck boat to its franchisee in Seattle.
According to the complaint:
“In 2013, RTDI [Ride the Ducks International] became aware that the axle housings on Duck Boats such as Duck 6 could be dangerously defective; they needed to be thoroughly checked and repaired. RTDI published a warning to its own operators in the form of a service bulletin, but it failed to successfully inform its franchisee (Ride the Ducks of Seattle).”
Herrmann commented that: “Ride the Ducks International was perhaps even more negligent than the local operator. They refurbished a then 60-year-old military landing craft and then sold it to their franchisee as fit for the purpose of transporting tourists.”
The suit alleges that: “Eyewitnesses describe an apparent “blowout,” “lockup” or the wheel actually coming off. In the aftermath, investigators would find the left front wheel detached from Duck 6 with its axle sheared off. “We did not name the State as a defendant for several reasons,” Herrmann explained. “We will need discovery and further research before we make a final decision as to whether the state should be included in the litigation.” (end)