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Family Sues a Ridgefield Funeral Home Over Alleged Body Mix-Up – NBC New York



What to Know

  • A New Jersey family was laying their 93-year-old mother to rest, when they say they were told the body of the woman in the casket was not their mother.
  • The family is now suing Central Funeral Home of New Jersey and Blackley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Ridgefield for $50 million.
  • The lawsuit claims loss of right to interment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery (for mishandling the body of the deceased) and breach of contract.

A New Jersey family was laying their 93-year-old mother to rest, when they say they were told the body of the woman in the casket was not their mother.

The family is now suing Central Funeral Home of New Jersey and Blackley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Ridgefield for $50 million.

News 4 New York met with the family who had one question: how could this happen?

The family said the entire ordeal has been a nightmare.

It was back in November 2021 that their loved one, Kyung Ja Kim, died in Englewood Cliffs and funeral service was planned for New York.

News 4 New York obtained a photo of the graveside service. Moments after the photo was taken, the casket was lowered in the ground only for it to come back up shortly thereafter. Allegedly, it was at that point that the director of the funeral home in New Jersey admitted to a big mistake — the wrong person was in the casket.

The revelation solidified what several family members thought throughout the emotional day since the funeral was open casket at the church. They said they even told the funeral director earlier that the person in the casket did not resemble their loved one at all.

The woman in the casket turned out to be 20 years younger than Kim, according to the lawsuit. Not only that, but the woman in the casket also had her own teeth, while Kim wore dentures. The lawsuit alleges that “to add to the shock and disgust over the mishandling of the decedent’s body” the funeral home employees placed the dentures under the pillow of the coffin with the wrong body inside it.

The family decided to file a lawsuit for $50 million. They said that those who work at Central Funeral Home of New Jersey and Blackley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. failed to follow their own policies to make sure bodies are properly identified.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the funeral home never told the other family about the mix-up.

In the end, Kim was buried a day later without the church service the family hoped for.

“I feel very sad and angry that we couldn’t accomplish her final wish, that she wanted to say bye to us at the church,” Kummi Kim, Kyung Ja Kim’s daughter, told News 4 New York.

Although News 4 New York reached out to the owners of the funeral homes several times, they have not responded to our requests for comments.

The Kim family also said that the funeral home offered to refund their $9,000 check. While the family did receive a verbal apology from the funeral homes, they say that is not enough and that is why they filed their lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims loss of right to interment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery (for mishandling the body of the deceased) and breach of contract.

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