Children file $88M lawsuit after mother's burial mix-up at New York funeral home

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Friday, November 19, 2021
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An $88 million lawsuit has been filed against Slinger-Hasgill Funeral Home in Amityville after the wrong body was buried.

AMITYVILLE, New York (WABC) -- An $88 million lawsuit has been filed against a Long Island funeral home after the burial mix-up of a COVID victim.

The children of Sadie Williams say the Slinger-Hasgill Funeral Home in Amityville mistakenly swapped the 87-year-old's body with that of another woman.

The error was not corrected until after the wrong body was buried next to Williams' husband following a funeral service.

Williams died on Aug. 17. and before her passing, her children made arrangements with Slinger-Hasgill to preplan their mother's funeral so she could be buried expeditiously, in accordance with Muslim tradition.

The couple's children say they knew all along there was a problem.

"I stood at the top of the steps with Joe Slinger and said that's not my mother, he said 'of course it is,'" daughter Salimah Lee said. "I got to the coffin, first thing I noticed, that's not my mother and she was wearing a child's watch."

According to the lawsuit, Slinger-Hasgill insisted the body was dramatically altered due to embalming.

The lawsuit claims the funeral home correctly identified the bodies on Aug. 21, the day after the burial mistake.

Another service and burial were held for Williams on Sept. 8.

"It is unconscionable, how such egregious actions can take place," said Phil Rizzuto, the Williams' attorney. "The most disturbing thing about this case is that the family pointed out the error and Mr. Haskill-Slinger refused to even consider the possibility of making a mistake."

The lawsuit is seeking $33 million in compensatory damages on behalf of Williams' 11 children and $55 million in punitive damages.

Hasgill Funeral Services had "no comment" when asked about the lawsuit.

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