Our client’s 56 year old mother passed away unexpectedly in a car crash. She had not set up any funeral arrangements in the event of her death.
Her adult sons called various funeral homes to get estimates for the costs of a funeral. One of the several funeral homes they called went and picked up the body without the family’s permission or consent. After picking up the body from the county coroner, they then had the body embalmed, also without authority or consent.
Under Ohio law, funeral homes are required to have consent before picking up a deceased body and are required to get written consent before embalming. Neither of these things were done in this case.
The funeral home admitted the mistake, but contended that our clients were not damaged in any way, as they got a “free” pick up and embalming. We argued that our clients were denied the choice of funeral home and suffered great emotional distress upon learning that their mother had been picked up and taken away unlawfully. In addition, we argued that the funeral home had fraudulently advised the coroner that they had authority to pick up the body.
The case was settled short of litigation. The amount and terms of the settlement are confidential.