Imagine preparing to bury a loved one after their demise only to turn up at a funeral home that handles everything to find a different body in the coffin.
A family in New Jersey went through this unfortunate time after discovering another woman’s body inside their mother’s casket. They are suing the funeral home for $ 50 million.
The family of Kyung Ja Kim says they instantly knew something was wrong when they gathered for an open-casket funeral for the 93-year-old and saw that the woman inside the casket was “so much younger looking.”
In a lawsuit filed Monday, July 25, Kummi Kim alleges she told the funeral director that the person inside the casket did not look like her mother and that they insisted no mistake had been made.
The lawsuit said the funeral director “responded with an unambiguous expression of denial and dismay over the question as if Plaintiff Kummi did not appreciate a different appearance after death.”
According to the lawsuit, the daughter then thought that her mother’s different appearance could have resulted from the embalming process and mortuary makeup and fake hair.
Only when the casket was halfway into the ground did staff at the funeral home realize they had mistakenly placed the body of Whaja Kim, 70, inside the casket instead.
To make matters worse, the body wrongly placed in Kyung Ja Kim’s coffin was dressed in their mother’s clothing.
The lawsuit claims that due to the funeral home’s error, Kyung Ja Kim’s family “suffered great shock, emotional distress and psychological pain and hurt upon learning that the passing of their mother was not properly celebrated but that the body of a stranger was wearing the decedent’s clothing and personal effects and placed in her coffin in error.”
The family also claims in the suit that the funeral home did not immediately inform the other family about the mix-up.
The suit against the Central Funeral Home of New Jersey and Blackley Funeral Home and Cremation Services alleges the switch-up was an act of “negligence” and would have been avoided had the funeral home properly tagged the bodies.
If the family wins the lawsuit they plan to donate the money to two churches their mother cared about.