Suit against Officer Funeral Home over preparation of dead mother set for status

Amelia Flood Jun. 16, 2011, 1:42am


A status conference is set July 19 in a suit brought by the family of a woman who claims that Officer Funeral Home did not properly prepare her for burial.

Plaintiffs Nancy Jones and Annie Short are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, punitive damages, and other relief in the case.

The two women allege that after their mother, Vera Little, died they contacted Officer Funeral Home and paid to have Little prepared for burial.

They claim that after paying $4,200 they were not allowed to view their mother's body at her funeral services.

Short alleges that when she did finally view her mother's body, she found it was in a black bag placed inside of the casket without cosmetics and that Little was still wearing the same clothing as the day she was discovered dead.

The sisters claim that as a result of the funeral home's actions, they were denied a chance to properly grieve for their mother. They also claim they could not present their mother in a dignified state and that they were embarrassed by her funeral.

The funeral home filed its answer and affirmative defenses denying the plaintiffs' claims.

The funeral home cites the plaintiffs' failure to state a claim, failure to accept attempts to allay their concerns, and a failure by the plaintiffs to mitigate their damages.

Officer Funeral Home also claims that the move for punitive damages is barred by the U.S. Constitution.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien moved the status conference in the case to July in an order signed May 16.

The parties spent most of last year engaged in taking depositions in the case.

Daniel Finney represents the plaintiffs.

Susan Herold represents the defendant.

The case is St. Clair case number 10-L-240.

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