A funeral home is being sued after a casket broke open during burial, causing the body to fall out.
Andrew Serrano, a resident of Puerto and Lawrence, passed away on March 29, 2019. Family members have filed a lawsuit against the Perez Funeral Home, who handled the burial. The suit claims that during a funeral service in April of 2019, one of the side straps on the casket-lowering device broke. This caused the casket to drop into the grave and break apart.
When the coffin broke apart, Serrano’s body fell into the grave and began “oozing fluid.” Horrified family members became “visibly distraught and hysterical,” with some jumping down into the grave to help.
The body was subsequently returned to the funeral home. A few days later, Serrano was successfully buried in Bellevue Cemetery.
According to the lawsuit, the family is seeking nine counts of negligence, as well as negligent and reckless infliction of emotional distress. Because the city of Lawrence owned the casket-lowering device, the city is also named in the suit. The family also seeks damages from E & J Memorial Services, Inc., Bellevue Cemetery Board of Trustees, and Bellevue Cemetery Board of Directors. Family members claim that city, funeral home, and cemetery had a duty to “handle Mr. Serrano’s human remains in a correct and dignified manner.”
The suit was filed Wednesday in Essex Superior Court by Methuen attorney Danilo Gomez. The family is seeking at least $50,001 in damages.