Family of Veteran Sues Va. Funeral Home For $60M, Claims Neglect of Body Awaiting Burial

September 23, 2009
Advertisement

April 16, 2009 – The family of an Army veteran has sued a Virginia funeral home, claiming the firm mishandled the man’s body by leaving it in an unrefrigerated garage for more than two months as it awaited burial at Arlington National Cemetery. The lawsuits filed against National Funeral Home and its parent company, Houston-based Service Corp. International, seek $60 million in damages.

The family of retired Army Col. Andrew DeGraff claims in the lawsuits filed Tuesday that the body was “defiled, degraded, humiliated and debased” as it sat in storage last fall.

“The treatment Colonel DeGraff’s body suffered was not fitting for anyone,” lawyer Kim Brooks-Rodney wrote.

Advertisement

The four lawsuits ? separately filed on behalf of four of DeGraff’s grandchildren ? came after The Washington Post reported that as many as 200 bodies were stored in the garage.

One of DeGraff’s grandchildren, Marian Savage of Springfield, said he was a veteran of three wars “who served his country dutifully. He deserved in death what he provided in life.”

Richard Morgan Jr. of Harrisonburg claims his father’s body was left for months to rot in the garage and has asked Fairfax County authorities to start a criminal investigation. Prosecutors have not said whether they are investigating.

Last year, National Funeral Home was placed on probation for three years and ordered to pay a $13,000 fine after an unannounced inspection found unsanitary conditions and other violations. It was the second time in the past six years that Virginia regulators put the home on probation.

SCI spokeswoman Lisa Marshall said an investigation is under way. If problems are identified, the company plans to “promptly take immediate corrective action,” she said.

In December 2003, SCI paid $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed in Florida by about 700 families that accused company cemeteries of misplacing bodies, losing track of plots and in some cases digging up remains to make room for new graves.

Article By: MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press Writer

Article from Newsday.com

CDFuneralNews

CDFuneralNews

ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
CDFuneralNews
Advertisement

You may be interested

Here’s What We Can Learn From Fans Scattering Ashes at the Super Bowl
Cremation
29 views
Cremation
29 views

Here’s What We Can Learn From Fans Scattering Ashes at the Super Bowl

Justin Crowe - February 18, 2018

During last week's celebration festivities for the Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl win, we noticed a trend emerging on social media.…

The Signature Group Names Inman Shipping Worldwide as Preferred Provider
Funeral Industry Press Releases
49 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
49 views

The Signature Group Names Inman Shipping Worldwide as Preferred Provider

CDFuneralNews - February 16, 2018

The Signature Group has named Inman Shipping Worldwide as their preferred provider of shipping services. Inman will assist on all…

The FBI Raids Body Broker’s Funeral Home and Colorado Shuts it Down
News
1777 views
News
1777 views

The FBI Raids Body Broker’s Funeral Home and Colorado Shuts it Down

Justin Crowe - February 14, 2018

In a previous story we reported on Sunset Mesa Funeral Home that was allegedly dealing the dismembered body parts of…

Comments