Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Tosses Cremation Suit for Lack of Evidence

(CN) - A New York woman did not prove negligence in her case against a funeral home that delivered an empty urn that should have contained her mother's ashes, a state appeals court ruled.

Dana Bailey sued Benta's Funeral Home, which was supposed to cremate Bailey's mother and place her remains in an urn for the memorial service.

About three weeks later, Bailey discovered that the urn was empty. The funeral home informed her that her mother's ashes had been "mislaid" and they would be delivered to Bailey.

Bailey was skeptical that the ashes were really those of her mother, however, and refused to accept them. She then sued the funeral home for negligence.

The trial court granted the funeral home's motion to dismiss Bailey's case, and the Manhattan-based New York Appellate Division affirmed because Bailey did not prove the ashes were not those of her mother.

"Losing, or improperly dealing with, the remains of a deceased person gives rise to a cause of action by the deceased's next of kin," the justices' unsigned decision states.

"However, merely causing doubt in the plaintiff's mind regarding whether particular ashes are those of her loved one, without more, is not actionable," they added.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.