Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ark Encounter Sues Over Rain Damage

I guess it's not that good a Noah's Ark replica after all. Ken Ham's Ark Encounter attraction is suing its insurance company over, of all things, rain damage. Or flood damage, depending on who you ask. Either way, it's pretty ironic considering that the legendary Noah's Ark supposedly endured forty days and nights of rain and a (patently impossible) flood that covered the entire world. I thought that Ham's replica was supposed to be accurate!

Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages. In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

The ark itself was not damaged and the road has been rebuilt, according to the suit. The park is open, said Melany Ethridge, a spokeswoman at the attraction’s Dallas-based public relations firm, who only laughed when informed that Ark Encounter had sued over flood damage. "You got to get to the boat to be on the boat," she said.

But to Ark Encounter’s lawyer, Amanda Brooke Stubblefield, at the Cincinnati firm Keating, Muething & Klekamp, the suit is no laughing matter. "We are not going to comment to the press on this case," she said. Ethridge subsequently issued a statement that said: “The lawsuit speaks for itself. We don’t have anything to add at this time, other than to say that we are highly confident of the merits of our case as we seek a fair resolution to the matter."

Okay, so it's the access road, shown above, that was damaged and I'm being excessively snarky. Still, it should be pointed out that if the ark actually floated it wouldn't need an access road. And there's at least one floating ark in the world already, so it clearly could be built. I find it pretty clear, too, that a working replica ark is a lot more impressive than a building that is just kinda shaped like one.

As far as the merits of the suit go I have no idea. Ham may be a big joke to me, but it also is true that lot of insurance companies will do just about anything to avoid paying claims. My guess is that the policy doesn't include coverage for flood damage - which you have to buy separately - and Answers in Genesis didn't buy supplemental flood insurance. So they're saying this is rain damage and the insurer is arguing it's flood damage. That's actually a legal distinction with wide-reaching implications and not just a snappy punchline.

Still, the snappy punchline is pretty darn funny.

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