West Virginia Record

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Siblings blame Charleston funeral service for emotional distress from dropped casket


By Philip Gonzales | Nov 6, 2018

LOGAN — Siblings are suing a Charleston funeral service provider, alleging breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress when they say a woman's corpse and casket were damaged during a funeral ceremony.

Jerry Johnson, Roberta Saucier, P. Marlene LeClerc and George Collins Jr. filed a complaint Sept. 14 in Logan Circuit Court against Cornerstone Family Services of West Virginia LLC, alleging failure to operate its cemetery in a reasonable manner.

According to the complaint, in May, the plaintiffs contracted Highland Memory Gardens for the burial and funeral service for their deceased mother, Linda Kay Collins. The burial was scheduled for June 2, but was reschedule for June 3. According to the complaint, as the defendant's workers were attempting to lower the casket into the ground, they discovered the grave wasn't dug properly and was too narrow.

"Defendant's workers then, unsuccessfully, to force the casket into the inadequate grave, causing trauma to the casket and disturbing the body within," the complaint states. "The casket was severely damaged as was Mrs. Collins' body. Mrs. Collins' face was especially disfigured by the acts of the defendant's workers."

As a result, her body was transported back to the funeral home for repair, and she was laid to rest June 5 "with no family present and for the full price of the weekend funeral charged."

The plaintiffs allege Cornerstone Family Services of West Virginia negligently caused or allowed the casket to be damaged as it was lowered into the grave.

The plaintiffs seek trial by jury, compensatory and punitive damages, interest, court costs, attorney fees and all other appropriate relief. They are represented by attorneys Steven S. Wolfe, J. Christopher White and Joshua T. Thompson of Wolfe, White & Associates in Logan.

Logan Circuit Court case number 18-C-206

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Logan Circuit Court Wolfe White & Associates

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