Crematory Sued for Mixing Up Human Remains

A woman sued a California crematory, Telophase Cremation Society, after she found pieces of human teeth in her mother’s cremains.  The problem — the woman’s mother did not have any teeth when she died.  As reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

While she was transferring the material, [the woman] noticed several lumps of what appeared to be melted metal and teeth — which she knew were not her mother’s because they had been removed more than a decade before she died.

[The woman] grew distraught at the realization the ashes may not be her mother’s.

Telophase denies any wrongdoing.   And the article points out that a legal document on the company’s website does not guarantee  purity of your loved one’s cremains.

Nearly all of the contents of the cremation chamber, consisting of the cremated remains, disintegrated chamber material, and small amounts of residue from previous cremations, are removed together and crushed, pulverized, or ground to facilitate inurnment or scattering.

Most people are unaware that cremated human remains are generally pulverized.  After the incineration is completed, the dry bone fragments are swept out of the retort and pulverized by a machine called a cremulator to process them into ashes (aka cremated remains or cremains).

These are some remains that are about to be pulverized by a modern cremulator.

This is a cremulator. It pulverizes what's is left of your remains after you have been cremated.

Siouxsie fully understands that there might be a little bit of dust left over from someone else’s cremation, but parts of teeth and fillings?  Unacceptable.

Interestingly and not too long ago, one of Telophase’s sister companies was the defendant in a large class action that involved claims of mishandling and commingling of bodies  —

In 1992, family members whose loved ones were cremated at the Neptune Society claimed that workers mutilated corpses to speed up the cremation process and incinerated some bodies simultaneously. The class-action case was settled for $6.8 million in 1996, even though company officials insist to this day they did nothing wrong.  [source]


Siouxsie predicts a quick settlement from Telophase’s insurance company.



~ by siouxsielaw on December 1, 2010.

2 Responses to “Crematory Sued for Mixing Up Human Remains”

  1. This must happen all the time. Rumor has it that a crematory near me dumps all its cremains into a big barrel. Then, they would just scoop out some cremains from the barrel evertime a funeral home or family came to pick up their loved ones ashes.

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