Widow Suing Funeral Corporation for $16M

February 28, 2011
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imageConduct of national company’s local workers called ‘outrageous, grossly negligent’.

A Nashville woman is seeking $16 million in damages for alleged ?outrageous, grossly negligent, indecent, reckless? conduct by a death care services provider.

Sharon McNabb filed suit against SCI Tennessee Funeral Services in Davidson County Circuit Court this week, claiming the company?s local workers botched burial arrangements for her deceased husband and ?talked her into? cremating his body.

According to the complaint, Andrew Raymond McNabb had purchased a plot at Woodlawn Memorial Park from Woodlawn Funeral Home in 1989. After his death on Dec. 17, Sharon arranged for a Dec. 20 viewing and Dec. 21 service at Eastland Funeral Home before the interment at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

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The arrangements were proceeding according to plan until SCI workers notified the McNabb family ? during the funeral service ? that they in fact had no burial plot at Woodlawn and said the ?best thing? to do was cremate the body. According to the complaint, McNabb consented, though she was ?completely distraught? and ?heavily sedated? at the time.

Then, more than a week after the cremation, McNabb received a notice from the Tennessee National Guard War Records Section that her husband was a veteran and was eligible for burial at the VA Cemetery ? notice that SCI had received the day before the funeral.

?Instead of telling her that he could be buried in a VA Cemetery, SCI staff talked her into letting them cremate him for a fee, when at the time it should have been obvious that she was suffering from great emotional distress,? the complaint reads. ?This conduct was outrageous, grossly negligent, indecent, reckless, and willful and the kind that is not tolerated by civilized society.?

McNabb is charging the company with negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeking $4 million in compensatory damages and $12 million in punitive damages.

SCI Tennessee and the complaint?s named funeral homes are subsidiaries of Texas-based and publicly traded Service Corporation International, which operates 1,600 funeral service locations and cemeteries under its Dignity Memorial brand. A spokeswoman for the company (Ticker: SCI) told NashvillePost.com on Friday that it is still gathering information and about the case and was not yet prepared to comment.

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