Family sues after a corpse was unceremoniously exposed to the bereaved

Originally published at: Family sues after a corpse was unceremoniously exposed to the bereaved | Boing Boing


I blame Corncob TV.


thank you


sooo… had there been some sort of ceremony prior to the strap snap then all would’ve been not-seeking-damages? (“and since any lowering of a body into a neatly dug hole amounts to ‘ceremony’…”) nah… cha-ching!

gratuitous Big Lebowski ‘cremains’ scene: The Big Lebowski - Ashes Scene - YouTube


I worked in the funeral industry here in Pittsburgh for a bit.

I heard lots of stories like this. One involved a family who elected for cremation of their loved one, but still wanted a casket in church (happens all the time). The deceased is placed in a cardboard cremation casket that goes inside a decorative casket with a door on the end that allows for the removal of the body from the casket without having to lift it out.

The church had very steep steps to the top (Pittsburgh, after all). During the climb there was no problem, but on the decent the end door swung open because someone forgot to latch it. The box slid out, opened up, and deceased ended up lying on the sidewalk in front of the church.

The veterans told me so many stories like this. Funeral industry can be pretty hilarious when you’re not the family of a screw up.


Unquestionably an unpleasant experience, and I feel bad the family had to go through that. $50K seems high, though, for what sounds like an accident. Even if it was due to poor maintenance, it seems like there are better remedies. Taking an additional $50K out of the city budget doesn’t seem likely to improve maintenance.

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Same! I came here to share that exact link.

Yeah it sounds like a pretty awful thing to experience after a loved one has passed away, and from the outside looking in i think its probably not the best route to sue. Although grief can certainly alter people’s judgement and if i were in these people’s shoes… i honestly don’t know how i would handle the situation.


Good point. I think I mostly just hope the family’s not being taken advantage of by an ambulance chasing lawyer who will end up taking most of the money anyway in the outside chance they actually win this.


People get emotional around the death of a loved one but whomever is pursuing a lawsuit for this I imagine is taking advantage of the opportunity and not really in need of a years salary for something that hasn’t even caused them any physical harm. Seems very petty. An apology is all I would’ve wanted in the circumstance.


Yeah, I buried my dad a few months back, so thinking about something like this hits close to home, but to go from there to “I should get a big cash prize” feels off-key.


I’ve done a number of military funerals.

  • had one where one of the pall bearers slipped and fell into the grave. There was no maneuver room around the grave, plus a coating of ice, then ker-plunk

  • another where the flag hand-off was fumbled and the flag fell in the grave. Usually if the flag falls it lands on the coffin. This time it slid perfectly down the gap at the head of the coffin

  • another where the gun salute went awry (blanks, don’t worry). On the first volley everyone was out of sync and it sounded awful. On the second volley NOBODY fired. Third volley, and the unprecedented fourth volley went fine.

Then of course the funerals where the deceased’s ex shows up, or worse the secret girlfriend shows up and expects to get the flag. Yikes!

(Happy Veterans Day BTW)


Will someone extract the footage from 1’42" to 1’44" and turn it into a looping gif with sound, please?

This bit:

Screen Shot 2021-11-11 at 18.39.07

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At a funeral! Oh noes!


Not the same but back in 1980 or so my grandma died. Tradition in our family is if there is no graveside service a representative of the family goes back to witness the casket being buried. There were 8 grankids all of them were in attendance. The truck brought the casket and as it was backing out it backed right over my cousin’s brand new sports car. If that don’t break the tension nothing will. The cemetery replaced the car and all was good.

I pray something like my casket being dropped happens at my funeral to liven things up. My daughter has strict instructions to put the fun back in funeral. This is on the list.


“… one of the side straps on the city-owned casket lowering device broke…”

I’m wondering how the funeral home could be named in the suit. How can funeral homes be responsible for a city-owned casket lowering device, and don’t the cemeteries’ city-employees operate it?

Should they have a contract with the city to operate and maintain that casket slinger, I suspect they would be first in line.

Isn’t there usually a Newton’s Cradle of suits? Like, you can only sue the group you have the most direct connection with as regards the injury: if there’s a nine car pile-up and you’re at the head, then you (or, more likely, your insurance) sues the driver of the car who hit you. They sue the car who hit them for their damages and yours. And so on until the driver who started the whole thing gets the suit for the value of all the others?

So in this case, the family sues the organisation with whom they had a contract and a commercial arrangement, and if the problem was the city’s equipment that the funeral home was using, then the home sues the city, and if the city had subcontracted maintenance, then the city sues them, and so on.

I am, as should be painfully obvious, not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

Maybe the quality of the casket was misrepresented and they paid for the quality box got the cheap one instead and that became evident once it broke open.

The source of the article said oozing was involved so maybe the body wasn’t prepared per whatever contract they had.



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