Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Decedent's Sister Lacked Standing To Sue Wife Over Cremation Decision

In Cohen v Marcus L. Bianconi Funeral Home, Ltd., (NY Sup. Ct., Sept. 10, 2012), decided last year but just posted this week by New York's Official Reports, a New York trial court dismissed a suit brought by a man's sister who objected to the fact that his remains were cremated rather than buried in an Orthodox Jewish cemetery. The sister, in a suit against the deceased's Italian Catholic wife, her family and the funeral home, claimed she suffered emotional distress from her brother being cremated against his moral beliefs and express wishes. The court held that under New York Public Health Law Sec. 4201, only the surviving spouse had authority to control disposition of the decedent's remains. His sister lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.