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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

At-Home Cremation Award Vacated, for Now

(CN) - A Florida man may not have to pay his siblings $1.1 million for not getting their consent before dismembering and cremating the body of their dead mother.

After the matriarch of the Elliott family died, William Robert Elliott dismembered her body, burned it in a barrel and scattered the ashes on the family farm.

His siblings, Mary Ann Hooper and Douglas Elliott, then filed suit for negligent handling of a corpse, negligent infliction of emotional distress and diminution of property value.

The trial court ruled in the siblings' favor and awarded them $1.1 million, but the Florida's first district appellate court in Tallahassee partially overturned the ruling on Feb. 7, deciding the emotional distress claim in favor of William.

"Appellees failed to establish a physical impact or sufficient physical injuries resulting from appellant's actions," Judge Bradford Thomas wrote for the court's three-judge panel. "They were not present when appellant dismembered, cremated and scattered his mother's remains."

The appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling on the siblings' other claims.

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