Ohio Funeral Home Sued After Wrong Corpse Was Displayed During Private Viewing, Correct Body Took Five Hours To Find

Relatives of deceased Nivina Cargill were shocked when they came to the woman’s private funeral viewing to find the wrong corpse on display. The corpse was wearing Nivina’s clothing, but the family says it was not Nivina. When the error was pointed out to the funeral home, the family says it took five hours for the funeral director to locate and prepare the correct body for viewing.

The Daily Mail reports that the family of a deceased Ohio woman, Nivina Cargill, was horrified when they came to a July 1 funeral viewing to discover the wrong body in the casket. Cargill’s family says that a corpse was wearing Nivina’s clothing, but it wasn’t Nivina. The family pointed out the mistake to the Smoot Funeral Services and the staff left to find the correct body. The family says it took five hours for the Smooth Funeral Services staff to return with the correct body, which left family members distraught.

The family is now suing the funeral home for $25,000 for both compensatory and punitive damages. To add insult to injury, the family says that when the correct corpse was presented for viewing, the body was positioned incorrectly and the makeup had been thrown on in haste. The deceased woman’s sister, Pamela Merritt, claims that the lawsuit isn’t about money. She says the family simply doesn’t want to see this type of trauma happen to another family. She says the family was already distraught over the loss of their beloved Nivina, and that the funeral home’s treatment of the woman’s body caused extreme emotional distress to family members.

“Our already distraught family went through even more emotional turmoil due to the funeral home’s mistreatment of my sister’s body. Smoot’s countless errors have caused our family indescribable emotional distress and suffering.”

WCMH notes that in addition to the claims of losing the body, dressing the wrong corpse in Nivina’s clothing and preparing the body in a rushed and haphazard fashion, the lawsuit also claims that the funeral home did not properly embalm the body. The family notes that the errors didn’t end with the wrongs to the corpse either. The family says that the funeral home also incorrectly identified the family members of the deceased in the obituary, which was thrown together at the last minute by the funeral home on the day of the funeral.

The Cargill family’s attorney, Benjamin W. Wright, says the allegations against the funeral home include abuse of a dead body, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, gross negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and fraud.

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