Funeral home slapped with lawsuit after ‘accidentally’ cremating man

Losing a family member is always awful, and losing one on a holiday is even worse, but when the funeral parlor “accidentally” cremates your family member against their expressed will, there’s only one thing left to do: You sue.

This is the sad situation in which the family of a Pauline, SC, man, Harold Lee — who was found dead on Thanksgiving Day 2019 — now find themselves, according to a report from KAIT8.

Lee, who, according to the lawsuit filed on March 8 by Brandon Lacy of Arkansas’ Lacy Law Firm, was extremely religious, “stickily desired not to be cremated, as he believed his body would be raptured following the Second Coming.”

 

It was Lee’s wish to be buried beside his parents at a Quitman, AR, cemetery.

The six-page lawsuit alleges that Lee’s family “made arrangements with Roller-McNutt Funeral Home for the purposes of the transfer, funeral arrangements, casket purchase and internment,” but on Dec. 10, 2019, the family was given the heartbreaking news that Roller-McNutt has “accidentally cremated the body.”

It was, according to the report, a shock that left Lee’s widow, Eunice, “violently shaking.”

It is a mistake that, Lacy’s lawsuit states, has caused the Lee family “extreme mental and emotional distress.”

In response to their error, Roller-McNutt has apologized, waived the funeral cost, and returned the $5,000 is received for burial insurance, but the Lee family is seeking financial restitution and damages.

While the attorney for Roller-McNutt, Michael Harrison, does not dispute the claim that the funeral home cremated Harold Lee, he does deny all other allegations the Lee family has made.

Believe it or not, these kinds of errors aren’t as uncommon as you might think.

In 2017, a Texas woman by the name of Roberta Salazar, knowing that she was dying, left a list of her final wishes, including her desire to wear a dress given to her by her late husband on their 40th wedding anniversary and the music she wanted played during an open-casket viewing at her funeral, according to a report at the time in the Daily Mail.

Instead, Ms. Salazar was “illegally cremated” by the Grace Funeral Home, according to the $50 million lawsuit filed by the Salazar family.

In an attempt to cover their egregious mistake, the funeral home “attempted to intentionally deceive the Plaintiffs into not having an open casket after they had cremated the Plaintiffs’ beloved Roberta by mistake,” the lawsuit claimed.

According to daughter Deola Salazar Guijon, her mother, a Pentecostal Christian, did not believe in cremation and would tell her, “It’s against my religion.”

“And I know a lot of times she would say, ‘The day I go, I don’t want to be cremated,'” Guijon said.

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