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Improper Cremation

In the spring of 2022, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed a lawsuit against multiple cremation companies and their joint owner.The suit allegedthat the companies had willfully misled individuals about both their prices and location and had also withheld the remains of loved ones to extract payment from their family members. These actions, according to the Department of Justice, amounted to violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which details fundamental violations of methods of competition and practices related to commerce. 

Unfortunately, violations of the FTC Act only represent a fraction of cases that fall under the umbrella term “improper cremation.” In addition to unfair financial practices, families of the departed are too frequently compelled to navigate transportation challenges, incomplete cremation, the disappearance of remains, and a host of other issues that may make it impossible to lay their loved ones to rest in reasonable, respectful, and dignified ways. 

Some Improper Cremation Scenarios Are Legally Actionable 

There are two primary ways in which the families of those who have been improperly cremated – or subjected to improper cremation practices – can seek justice. The first approach can seem somewhat cold and formal, but it can be very effective when the circumstances are such that it is the best way forward: a breach of contract lawsuit. 

Contracts are legally binding agreements in which the rights and obligations of all parties to the agreement are (at least, ordinarily) spelled out within its terms. When one party breaches their duties as detailed in a contract, a party to the contract that has been wronged by that breach can hold them accountable. 

Say that a contract specified that someone’s remains were to be transported in a specific way and on a specific date. Instead of honoring those terms, a cremation service transported the remains too late for them to be interred after an individual’s memorial service and in packaging that caused them to spill. The family members who hired the cremation service could then sue for damages because the terms of the contract signed with the company were not honored.

The second primary way that loved ones can address losses caused by improper cremation involves filing a negligence-based lawsuit. This approach will not necessarily need to be rooted in the terms of a contract. Essentially, to prevail in this kind of legal action, a wronged family will need to allege that the party being sued owed the deceased and their family a duty of care. That defendant then breached that duty by engaging in negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful conduct. As a result of that breach, the family suffered harm. Our team can explain whether this approach may be more effective for your family’s circumstances – and why – once we’ve learned the details of your unique situation. 

Connect With A California Personal Injury Attorney To Protect Your Family’s Rights

Depending on the unique details of your family’s circumstances, you may be in a position to pursue a negligence-based lawsuit – that will progress much as a personal injury lawsuit would – or you may be able to pursue a favorable legal outcome by pursuing a breach of contract lawsuit. Either way, know that the knowledgeable legal team at The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, PC is ready to aggressively pursue your family’s rights and interests in the wake of all that you have suffered.

Pursuing compensation will not restore to you what has been lost. However, taking legal action can help you to pursue justice on behalf of your loved one and your family and in recognition of the risk that other families could be subjected to the same circumstances if the responsible party in question is not held accountable. 

Our firm is proud to offer risk-free legal consultations at no cost to anyone who wants to learn more about their rights and options under the law. Schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today by calling 949-727-9300 or contacting us online. You are dealing with the unimaginable right now. Allow our team to handle the legal “heavy lifting” of your situation so that you can focus your energy on grieving, healing, and taking care of your loved ones during this time. We look forward to assisting you. 

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