Sisters Visiting Wrong Grave for 20 Years Sue for $25 Million

graveyardTwo sisters in New Jersey were devastated to learn that the grave they had been visiting for 20 years contained a stranger's remains instead of their mother's. Even more frustrating is the fact that the cemetery's management is doing very little to correct the error: It's acknowledged their mother had been buried in the wrong plot, told the sisters the new plot location where they believe the mother to actually be buried, and gave them permission to -- along with the funeral director -- to excavate the coffin to verify that it is, in fact, their mother's.

But at this point, the sisters don't trust that their mother is actually there -- I mean, would you? Now, they're suing the cemetery for $25 million. And I hope they get every penny.


True, $25 million seems like an exorbitant amount of money. But consider the emotional trauma and distress such a shocking discovery -- that your deceased mother wasn't buried where you thought she was -- could trigger. According to the complaint, during the last two decades, the sisters:

... visited the wrong grave-site, sought comfort from the wrong grave, laid flowers on the wrong grave, [and] prayed and had confidential conversations at the wrong grave.

Hmmm. Okay, so maybe the sisters' emotional damages don't quite add up to $25 million. But there are bigger issues at stake here than simply relatives' retribution. Someone -- whether it's the cemetery staff and/or the funeral director -- needs to be held accountable and pay the penalty for this upsetting grave-site mix-up; otherwise, what will prevent this situation from occurring over and over again?

Relatives of deceased family members need to be able to trust that their loved ones are buried in the right place. And, the fact that the cemetery staff in this situation can't even guarantee this woman has been buried in the new location is disturbing and completely suspect. If it takes a $25 million to stop this from happening to other unsuspecting families and set a precedent that there is a high price to be paid for errors with something so serious, then so be it.


Image via Nicholas Smale/Flickr

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