Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is defending his lawsuit against the operators of a duck boat that sank in July, killing 17 people.

Hawley's August lawsuit accuses Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment Inc. of violating Missouri's consumer protection law and putting profits above safety, citing the July 19 accident on Table Rock Lake.

The companies responded by seeking dismissal, calling Hawley's lawsuit "irresponsible" and "littered with factual inaccuracies and innuendo."

In a filing Monday, Hawley's office said the companies are trying to delay state enforcement actions and evade any court order that would stop them from resuming operation.

Hawley is a Republican running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Ripley says in a statement that it is disappointed by Hawley's "inflammatory language" and that it simply wants resolution in the appropriate court.

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