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Cremation Errors Result In Grief and a Lawsuit

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An Alabama family has filed a federal lawsuit stating that a cremation company gave them the ashes of the wrong person. The family later found that the error was the result of a three-way mix-up, according to a news report in the Knoxville News Sentinel. That means two other deceased people’s ashes were interred in the wrong place as well!

The family is seeking $500,000 in damages from Littlebrook Cremation Co. and its owner, the newspaper reported. The remains in question were those of Mark Gibson who died April 29. The family reportedly discovered the error just before a scheduled memorial service when family members noticed that the ashes came labeled under a different name, the article stated.

So the family, which was already in grief, was sent on this most unnecessary quest to find their loved one’s remains. They first thought the ashes were buried in the Veterans Cemetery in Alabama, but later found that another woman’s remains were interred there, also by mistake. An anthropologist determined that the remains sent to the family were not of Gibson, but another man, Keith Vincent.

An attorney for the plaintiffs told the newspaper that no one still knows how the horrible mix-up happened, but that the remains of the deceased parties have now been interred correctly.

What a nightmare for the grieving families! It is a sad fact that some funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoriums treat the deceased with disrespect, carelessness and negligence. Presently we are representing two more families, who were victimized and traumatized by negligent funeral homes.

In one of our present cases, a deceased relative was dropped, injured and discovered bleeding when family members came to the funeral home to pay their respects. In another current case, a pricey funeral home performed very shoddy embalming and preparation of the body of a beloved grandmother. The shocking state of their loved one’s body was discovered when the casket was opened for viewing at the memorial service. The state of the body indicated either a total incompetence by the funeral homes employees or worse.

The evidence indicates that some funeral homes show little or no respect for the deceased or their loved ones. Some take advantage of grieving relatives at their most vulnerable moments. Some commit outright fraud, while others demonstrate a sick, callous disregard for the deceased, their family and friends.

If you would like to file a complaint against a funeral home, crematorium or cemetery, here is a Web site with a lot of good information: http://www.funerals.org/complain.htm.

If a funeral home, cemetery or crematorium’s actions were outrageous, resulting in significant emotional upset to family members and you want to hold the wrongdoers accountable for their actions, call me for a discussion of your options.

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  • Idetrorce

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  • Flying

    What a nightmare for the grieving families!

  • michelle

    My son was picked up from the coroners office in LA by a funeral home I did not hire on jan 7. His body was taken to the crematory and cremated. On jan 6 I had made arrangements w a funeral home for a funeral. On jan 7 in the am I went to the cemetary to chose a mausoleum, when I pulled in front my door, I received a phone call to come bk to funeral home. When I arrived I was informed that his boy had been cremated by another funeral home.

  • Sam

    Thanks for bringing attention to this matter.

  • This is indeed an unfortunate mix-up for all families involved. Being involved in the memorial business we recognize the importance of personalization. Choosing an urn that has engraving or some form of permanent marking can help eliminate potential confusion and any mis-placement.

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