Lawsuit: Funeral Home Wouldn’t Adjust Body in Coffin

December 3, 2009
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imageChicago – A Hammond man has filed suit against a South Side funeral home, saying he was forced to reposition the body of his brother-in-law inside a coffin after funeral workers refused to do it just before the man’s funeral.

Thomas Owens dismissed the funeral home’s explanation that the body of his sister’s husband didn’t fit in the 7-foot coffin, and instead believes it is because he bought a cheaper coffin elsewhere.

Owens says officials at Gatling’s Chapel refused to help adjust the body before the Nov. 30, 2007, service so that it would fit inside the coffin and allow the lid to close. Those same officials watched as Owens and his two teenage sons lifted the man’s body and adjusted it themselves, he said.

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“They had him tilted up like he was a guy driving a car,” Owens said.

Owens said he was also told by the cemetery taking Ronald Jones’ body that the funeral home informed them the coffin was an incorrect size and that he was committing fraud.

A letter of complaint that Owens originally sent to the Funeral Ethics Association was filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Monday, as was Owens’ suit claiming infliction of emotional distress by the funeral home.

Directors at Gatling’s Chapel did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

In addition to unspecified financial damages, Owens wants counseling for his sons and a verbal apology from funeral home owner Lafayette Gatling.

Source: Chicago Breaking News

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