Wrongful Death

Ride the Ducks settle appeal of the $123 Million Jury Verdict and 5 more cases

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Stritmatter Law Firm:  Press release

April 29, 2019

Seattle, Washington

Re:  The 40 members of the Dinh Group, Moody Family, Leina Family and Ride the Ducks Settlement of $123 M Trial Verdict and Pending Litigation.

Today the appeal of the $123 Million jury verdict in the case of Dinh v. Ride the Ducks et al. reached on February 7, 2019, was dropped by Ride the Ducks Seattle and Ride the Ducks International (Branson, Missouri). 

The marathon four month trial involved a group of 44 plaintiffs from around the world who were killed or injured as a result of the September 24, 2015, amphibious touring vehicle versus North Seattle College motor coach disaster on the Aurora Bridge. 

During trial four plaintiffs settled early for $8.5 Million – the largest of those amounts compensating the family of Ivan Putradanto, an Indonesian student who was heir to the family’s large business. A fifth plaintiff partially settled before closing argument for $4 Million to compensate the family of HaRam Kim, a Korean student who had hoped to one day become a physician.

Five more plaintiffs joined the Dinh Group too late and were not allowed to participate in the trial.  As part of today’s settlement, those claims are settling for another $5.8 Million – including a small portion paid by the State of Washington and City of Seattle.

According to lead attorney Karen Koehler, following the verdict the clients and co-counsel remained undaunted even after Ride the Ducks appealed the verdict.

“Our clients were traumatized for years following the crash.  Up until trial neither of the Ducks defendants would admit that they had any role in causing the disaster.  The jury’s verdict means so much to the plaintiffs.  It is an acknowledgment by our community – that each and every plaintiff has been terribly wronged and harmed.  We intended to fight the appeal all the way.”

Upon learning that the insurers for the Ducks companies would pay most of the verdict Koehler said her clients cried with relief.  “They will never forget what happened.  They will live with the scars, physical disabilities, mental images and emotional trauma forever.  But now they do not have to worry about waiting years for the appeal to end. They can at least shut the lawsuit door.”

After the Seattle tragedy Ride the Ducks International sold its Branson Missouri operation to Ripley’s Entertainment in 2017.  Then in the summer of 2018, 17 people died when a duck sank on Table Rock Lake.  Ripley’s has now decided to forever close down the duck operation in Branson and is converting its property into a laser tag interactive maze

Ride the Ducks Seattle continues to operate. 

The Ride the Ducks trial team was led by Karen Koehler, followed by second chair Andrew Ackley. Garth Jones, Lisa Benedetti and Melanie Nguyen were a vital part of the trial team. Jesica McClure and Debra Watt were lead paralegals on the case.

Some of the members of our group were also represented by co-counsel. We are grateful for their trust in us to lead and try this important case:

Alex S. Chun (Seohee Bak and Min Kyeong Kang), Richard Benedetti (Don Clouse), Matt Dubin (Rhonda Cooley and  JoAnn Gerke), Tim Loranger (Derschmidt Family), Arthur Leritz and Melissa Carter (Jennifer Emery and Sarah Johnson), Bradley Johnson and Brian Krikorian (Timothy and Susan Gesner), Doug Phillips (Mazda Hutapea and Yuta Masumoto), Ron Maidenberg (Greg Moody, Patricia Moody, and Kathleen Moody), Anthony Marsh (Florencia Irena, Jae Won Jang, Privando Putradanto, and Na Ra Yoon), Dan Williams (HaRam Kim), Jongwon Yi (Young Ki Kim, Yunsu Kim, Sang Woo Kim, Young Yee Lee, Jae Young Park, and Jin Young Park), Jeff Hightower (Alena Lutz), David Rovang (Tam Nguyen), Wangjin Kim (Minje Sa and Kwang Park), Patrick Kang (Kathy Sheldon, Ron Sheldon, Rick Sheldon, and Terry Sheldon), Chris Jackman (Yu Zhuang), and Brad Moore and Bojan Dekker (Fenna Zielinski and Gunter Zielinski).

For more information about this case, click here.

For inquiries contact:

Karen Koehler

Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore

www.stritmatter.com

206.353.2642 cel

Ride the Ducks Deaths Help Spur State Legislature to Fix Wrongful Death Law

Ride the Ducks Deaths Help Spur State Legislature to Fix Wrongful Death Law

Our state’s Wrongful Death bill was completely overhauled today in a landslide vote by the legislature.

After five international students were killed in the Ride the Ducks Aurora Bridge crash, the community was upset to learn that the claims of the students over the age of 18 who did not have dependents (children) was strictly limited because of an ancient law whose roots were traced to racist rationale.  Washington was one of only three states to still have wrongful death laws like this on the books.

Washington May Change Its Unfair Wrongful Death Law

Washington May Change Its Unfair Wrongful Death Law

Parents who have raised children into adulthood know that little actually changes that one midnight when a child turns 18.  At 11:59 p.m., a 17-year old lives at home with his parents, is wrapping up high school with some degree of senioritis, and probably attempting to decide what to do next.  At 12 a.m., the 18-year old is doing the same thing.  Yes they are suddenly eligible to buy a cigar or serve in the military, but the love relationship between a parent and their child does not change.  With one awful exception.