BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - After putting the wrong body in an open casket, a South Texas funeral home argued with the family, insisting that they were wrong and it was right, the distressed family claims in court.
Marco and Victoria Vega sued Trinity at Harrison Funeral Home, of Harlingen, and Orlando and Alfredo Elizondo, in Cameron County Court.
The Vegas say they were shocked and upset by what happened at the Feb. 6, 2013 viewing, when they expected to see their loved one laid out in his favorite suit.
"When plaintiffs Marco Antonio Vega and Victoria Zamora Vega arrived at the funeral home for the viewing service, other mourners were present to pay their last respects and greet the grieving family," the complaint states. "After being greeted and comforted by the visitors, plaintiffs entered the chapel to be with their loved one. Upon viewing the open casket, plaintiffs were shocked by the fact that it was not their beloved husband and father, but the body of a complete stranger adorned in Jesus G. Vega's suit, shirt, and tie.
"In shock, plaintiffs pointed out to the employee of defendant Trinity the mistake. Instead of rushing to remedy the error, the employee argued with them, insisting that the body on display was their loved one. When plaintiffs insisted they knew what their husband and father looked like, the employee finally acquiesced, and the body of the stranger was removed and the viewing halted.
"Sometime later, the remains of Jesus G. Vega (dressed in his suit, shirt, and tie, and lying in his casket) were returned to the chapel. The viewing was then concluded without further incident.
"The viewing of a complete stranger in their loved one's clothes and casket at a time when the family was at its most vulnerable was a source of extreme mental anguish, made worse by the outrageous conduct of defendant Trinity's employee and agent who initially refused to acknowledge that indeed a stranger was in the casket and clothes of the deceased, Jesus G. Vega."
Trinity at Harrison Funeral Home declined to comment.
The Vegas seek damages for deceptive trade, negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of expressed and implied warranties.
They are represented by Steve Cichowski of San Antonio.