Decedent's family sues funeral home for improper embalming

Ann Knef Mar. 26, 2008, 6:11am

Valhalla Funeral Home

Relatives of Jimmy Joe Henshaw are suing Valhalla-Holten Funeral Home in Belleville for improper embalming.

Tammy Henshaw, Jimmy Henshaw, Jr. and Angela Henshaw claim they were severely and emotionally traumatized and distressed while viewing decedent Jimmy Joe Henshaw at his wake on April 13, 2005.

"During the wake, Decedent emitted a red fluid from his body, which stained his clothing and caused severe emotional distress and trauma to those in attendance, including Plaintiffs," states a complaint filed March 24 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

The Henshaws claim the defendant failed to put nose plugs in the decedent and failed to warn viewers that bodily fluids would run from decedent's body.

"As a further direct and proximate result of the foregoing negligent acts and omissions, Plaintiffs' emotional trauma required the services of ambulance personnel for medical treatment," the complaint states. "Plaintiffs have suffered from traumatic stress and other psychological maladies that required subsequent medical treatment."

Represented by Samuel M. Wendt and Peter E. Goss of Kansas City and Burgess & Lamb of Kansas City, the plaintiffs are seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, plus costs, interest and other and further relief deemed equitable by the Court.

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