Sussex County funeral home mixed up bodies on day of wake, lawsuit alleges

The family of Josephine Struble filed the suit against F. John Ramsey Funeral home in Franklin. They say they lost out on the chance to say goodbye to their loved one.

News 12 Staff

Sep 19, 2022, 8:26 PM

Updated 631 days ago

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A Sussex County funeral home is being sued for over claims it put the wrong woman in a casket for her family’s viewing.
The family of Josephine Struble filed the suit against F. John Ramsey Funeral home in Franklin. They say they lost out on the chance to say goodbye to their loved one.
Josephine Struble was 85 years old when she died in December 2021. Her family had planned to have an open casket during the viewing.
According to this lawsuit, Struble’s daughter Gloria had given the F. John Ramsey Funeral home the clothing and jewelry they wanted her to be wearing. A viewing would take place on Jan. 4, before she was laid to rest at the North Hardyston Cemetery.
But during the viewing, Struble’s grandson noticed a horrific mix-up. When he went up to the casket, he saw that it wasn’t his grandmother at all, but another woman.
"It's unfortunate because you only get one chance to say goodbye,” says family attorney Michael Shaw. “It's difficult enough to lose a family member under ordinary circumstances."
The lawsuit states that Struble’s daughter “noticed her mother's jewelry on the unidentified corpse."
After the mix-up was noticed, funeral director Joseph Clark "finally instructed decedents family to exit the room,” according to the suit.
The family was outraged and distraught. The suit goes on to say that 30 minutes later, "Family members reentered the room only to find decedent disheveled and bruised."
The funeral home is now facing civil charges, including negligence for mishandling of human remains, emotional distress, breach of contract and tort of outrage - explained as “intentional extreme reckless, and outrageous behavior.”
News 12 has reached out to the funeral home to find out how the bodies were mixed up but did not receive a response.
"Throughout that entire process there are supposed to be checks in place for identifying the body to avoid potential issues such as this,” says Shaw.
Shaw says that the family has not demanded any dollar figure in return for their emotional distress. They are asking that the funeral home be held accountable.


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