Jesse Minc was quoted in the New York City Lens online news publication regarding an ongoing lawsuit against the R.G. Ortiz Funeral Home in Bronx, New York. You can read the article here. This tragic case involved the premature death of a Bronx woman, whose family contracted with the funeral home to cremate her body and return the remains promptly to the family for funerary services. Unfortunately, despite months of inquiries by the family, the funeral home failed to respond and answer one simple question: Where is my sister’s body? As of the date of this post, this simple question has not yet been answered in a manner satisfactory to the family.
This particular case involves a claim known as “Loss of Sepulcher”, in which a deceased person’s next of kin file a lawsuit alleging that a particular defendant negligently interfered with their right to immediate possession of their deceased loved one’s remains. The plaintiffs in such a case can obtain compensation for emotional damages, which are presumed under the law.
These types of claims are often related to claims for wrongful death. Under New York law, and more specifically the New York Estates Powers and Trust Law, next of kin of a deceased person who is killed due to the carelessness, recklessness or negligence of another person may file a lawsuit claiming economic losses incident to the wrongful death of their relative. Wrongful death claims involve purely economic damages; to recover, the family must prove that they have, collectively and individually, suffered an economic loss as a result of the loss of their loved one (e.g., that they have lost a source of household income because the deceased person can no longer work and earn a living to contribute to the family income). If, under the circumstances, the deceased person endured a significant amount of pain and suffering in connection with their untimely passing, the family can also bring a claim for conscious pain and suffering in addition to the separate claims for wrongful death.
To allow readers to understand the connection between claims for wrongful death and conscious pain and Loss of Sepulcher, imagine the following situation: A woman goes into a local hospital for surgery, which unfortunately results in medical malpractice that ultimately causes her to pass away after a month of battling infections and other complications occasioned by the malpractice and injuries caused during surgery. After she passes away, the hospital staff place the wrong name and other identifying information on her toe tag, and her body is mis-identified as that of someone who requested cremation, so her body is sent off to a crematory and is cremated. However, the woman’s religious beliefs prohibit cremation and require an immediate burial of the body. When the family discovers this, they are emotionally devastated, and ultimately learn that the woman’s death was caused by medical malpractice that caused her a long period of pain and suffering before her death. Under these circumstances, the family could bring claims for medical malpractice sounding in wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering, as well as their own claims for Loss of Sepulcher for the mishandling of their deceased mother’s remains.
Contact wrongful death lawyer Jesse Minc today to learn more about Loss of Sepulcher, wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering claims today by calling him directly at (718) 354-8000, or by submitting an online contact form on this website.