A former funeral director of an Arizona funeral home has been named as the defendant in a civil lawsuit. The man who filed the lawsuit claims that employees at the funeral home stole valuable items left on his deceased father’s body. According to this news report in the Eastern Arizona Courier, Matthew Mendoza entrusted the body of his father to the Morris-David funeral and interment services of which Anthony E. Davis was the manager.
Mendoza alleged in his complaint that he was not allowed to see his father before the cremation and that he did not receive his father’s personal property that was given to the funeral home. Some of the items that were “missing” include $600 in cash, a wallet, a Waterman fountain pen, a reproduction World War II bullet lighter and a wedding ring. Mendoza is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages in this case.
Davis apparently resigned as funeral director after a hearing in February before the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers in connection with the Mendoza complaint. Davis was given a reprimand and the funeral home’s license was also suspended. Mendoza states in his lawsuit that the actions by the funeral home and Davis were “committed by evil hands guided by evil minds.”
I absolutely agree with Matthew Mendoza. Unfortunately, these types of funeral home negligence cases are common in California as well. We are handling complaints for several clients, who have suffered severe emotional trauma because the remains of their loved ones were not treated with respect and dignity. There is no question that what the funeral director did in this case was horrible and to me, unthinkable. To steal from a dead person is the lowest someone can sink to, in my opinion. Apart from that, it is a heartless act that shows absolutely no concern for the people who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
I hope Matthew Mendoza receives the compensation that is due to him. I also hope the funeral home is punished for its lack of concern and regard for its customers. Running a funeral home is not just a business. It takes sensitivity and a deep concern for your clients who are suffering enormously. Funeral homes that don’t live up to that standard don’t deserve to operate.