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Nevada top court allows lawsuit against funeral home to proceed

The Nevada Supreme Court recently rejected a motion filed by a funeral home that argued that a lawsuit filed against the company by a family who endured what it says was a disastrous funeral that included the body falling out of the casket into the grave. The top court found that the litigation was filed within statute of limitations, allowing the personal injury suit to proceed.

The lawsuit was filed against Las Vegas-based Valley Funeral Home by a family that hired Valley to help conduct the funeral of its relative, a Baptist pastor. According to the lawsuit, during the burial, Valley employees attempted to lower the casket into the grave, but a strap broke and caused the casket to slip. The lid to the casket was open, causing the body to fall out and drop into the grave. Valley caused the man’s relatives depression, anxiety and nightmares due to the company’s negligence, the suit claims.

Attorneys representing Valley asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the suit was filed too late to meet Nevada’s two-year statute of limitations. They argued that an attempt to file electronically at the very end of the time limit was not successful and therefore the suit was not proper. The trial judge rejected the motion and Valley appealed that decision.

The state Supreme Court agreed with the trial court. It found that the electronic filing was rejected on a technicality, but that the attempt counted as successfully meeting the deadline.

The suit seeks at least $50,000 in personal injury damages against Valley.

Source: Las Vegas Sun, “Funeral home’s petition rejected in case of bungled burial,” Cy Ryan, Feb. 9, 2012

John P. Aldrich
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