Funeral home sued for $88m for burying wrong body in mother’s plot

Family says they warned they had been shown wrong body before funeral

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A New York funeral home has been sued for $88m after a family was told they placed the wrong person in their mother’s plot.

The family of 87-year-old Sadie Williams said they had warned the Joseph A Slinger-Hasgill Funeral Home on Long Island of a mix-up before the burial, but were assured that the body they were shown was their mother.

“I said, ‘Those aren’t my mother’s nails. Her burn mark is not on her arm,’” Salimah Lee told CBS New York.

“I said, ‘Mum has a mole.’ I just kept picking out different things. He stood at the top of the steps of the funeral home, laughing, going, ‘Oh, I hear that all the time. They tell me. People say that all the time. The embalming fluid smooths them out.’”

And the family says that three days after the funeral service, the director called them to tell them of the mistake and apologise.

“He says, ‘I just want you to know that that wasn’t your mom,’” said Ms Lee.

Ms Lee says she immediately went to the Long Island funeral home and was shown her mother’s body.

“That’s my mother … I just knew it. I said her mole was missing and everything,” Lee can be heard saying in the video.

“I’m just sick. I’m sick … So now I have to let the other family know,” the funeral director can be heard saying.

Ms Williams was supposed to be buried within 72 hours according to Muslim tradition, but in the end it took 22 days.

The family is now suing for $88 million claiming gross negligence.

“They questioned and they questioned and they questioned it, and the funeral director insisted he was right,” said Phil Rizzuto, the family’s lawyer.

The funeral home had “no comment” when reached by the TV station WABC about the lawsuit.

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