Los Angeles, Calif. — Associate Attorney, Conor Stanton of the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates recovered a $120,000 settlement on a funeral home negligence claim. Prior to the decedent’s death, her final wish was to have a graveside funeral service. Following her demise, the decedent’s family (plaintiffs) contracted with the funeral home (defendants) to make the service and burial arrangements. However, upon early arrival before the scheduled time of the funeral service, the family discovered that the defendants had already entombed and sealed the decedent inside the crypt. The plaintiffs were unable to properly perform the graveside service, thus failing to grant the dying wish of their loved one. They were robbed of their right to properly say goodbye to their deceased beloved before they laid her to rest.
Associate Attorney, Conor Stanton presented six causes of action against the funeral home: breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and fraud.
The defendants entered into a written agreement with the plaintiffs. That contract was breached when the defendants entombed the decedent before the agreed-upon time. The plaintiffs were in full compliance with their end of the contract, having paid in advance for the requested services.
The funeral home clearly acted negligently. The plaintiffs entered into a contracted agreement with the defendants with justifiable reliance that was induced by the representations the defendants made. By carelessly mishandling the decedent’s remains, the defendants not only violated the fiduciary duty owed to the plaintiffs but also failed to uphold the proper standards of professional morticians they claimed to be.
The incident caused severe emotional distress to the plaintiffs. The family entrusted the funeral home to respectfully take care of their loved one’s body. The defendants’ negligence left the plaintiffs traumatized and disrupted their grieving process.
Most funeral homes include an arbitration clause within their contracts, as was written in the signed agreement between the defendants and plaintiffs. Stanton fought every motion to compel arbitration and filed suit against the defendants. Continuing to push for arbitration, the defendants presented a lowball offer of $10,500. The extent of damage the funeral home and mortuary caused the family of the decedent far exceeds the degrading offer. With a relentless approach, Stanton settled the matter in litigation for $120,000.