Cemetery sued for jumping on casket

Nov. 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM
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PITTSBURGH, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A Pittsburgh family has filed a lawsuit alleging cemetery workers jumped up and down on the casket of a family member in an effort to fit it into a grave.

The family members of Agnes Zimmick, who was buried at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery in Shaler in 2009, filed the lawsuit Monday against the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

"Frankly, it's shocking this happened at a Catholic cemetery," said the plaintiffs' attorney, Richard Sandow. "You're not dealing with lumber. You're dealing with the deceased. There were many jumps, shoves and stomps."

The suit alleges several of Zimmick's family members visited other family graves after her burial. A short time later, the family said they saw cemetery workers jump "up and down on the casket;" walk on top of the casket; and "repeatedly [strike] said casket with poles ... to force the casket into place," according to the lawsuit.

The family made their initial complaint to the cemetery just after the Dec. 1, 2009, funeral.

"The family filed a complaint and we investigated it thoroughly. We are confident after our investigation that the allegations are unfounded," said Annabelle McGannon, executive director of the cemeteries association. "Beyond that, it's our policy not to comment on issues in litigation."

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