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New York - Grieving Orthodox Jewish Woman Sues After Almost Burying Wrong Casket In Father's Plot

Published on: August 6, 2015 06:00 PM
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Brooklyn, NY - A grieving Orthodox Jewish woman has filed suit in Brooklyn Supreme Court after a casket mix-up at Staten Island’s Mount Richmond Cemetery in April almost placed a complete stranger in her dead father’s plot.

NYPOST.com (http://bit.ly/1Uquczv) reports that, according to her suit, 44-year-old Jenny Gutnick claims that just as staffers were lowing her late father Grigority Gutnikov’s coffin into the ground she noticed an obscure Post-it note with a woman’s name written on it.

Gutnick called a stop the proceedings, and after a three hour conference the officiating rabbi finally relented and allowed Gutnick to open the casket, revealing the body of a strange woman.

Following an extensive search, cemetery reps were finally able to unearth a coffin containing Gutnikov’s body from another location on the Mount Richmond grounds.

Mount Richmond officials have offered Gutnick a free plot for her own use as compensation, but the grieving Jenny said it is “inadequate and inappropriate.”

“You don’t know how bad my stress is,” Gutnick said.

Named as defendants in the suit alongside Mount Richmond are Capital Funeral Service, Domaz LTD, and Hebrew Free Burial Society for the Poor of Brooklyn.


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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 06, 2015 at 06:19 PM The Professor Says:

The Hebrew Free Burial Society is named as a co-defendant. They do a tremendous amount of chessed shel emes. They usually arrange for free burials of those whose families are too indigent to pay. Is this woman taking her genuine anguish and trying to profit from it?

2

 Aug 06, 2015 at 06:26 PM Bob the Lawyer Says:

I have had a number of these cases over the years. They are always the result of bumbling. In one case I demanded to take the deposition of the "shomer," for whose services the family had paid $200 to sit with the body overnight. Our point was, how do you lose the body when someone is supposedly watching it. Turns out, he was blind! Cha-ching.

3

 Aug 06, 2015 at 07:02 PM Sha1om Says:

Things happen - we went to the cemetery for the hakomas hamatzeiva for my grandmother, and found some stranger's matzeiva had already been placed on her grave. We were scratching our heads, we know she was buried four graves from the left side of the row, who is this person? Finally got the cemetery office to straighten things out, they moved the erroneous headstone to where it was supposed to be.

And we didn't sue anyone, either.

4

 Aug 06, 2015 at 07:19 PM ShmutzVesh Says:

In this world of people stricken with a sense of entitlement this narishkayt is bound to happen

5

 Aug 06, 2015 at 07:27 PM Abba_S Says:

This is why someone should always check to make sure it's the proper coffin before the funeral because all the coffins look the same there could be a mix up. I have the feeling that after this suit cemeteries will require verification of the deceases prior to burial.

6

 Aug 06, 2015 at 07:42 PM Innerperspective Says:

Reply to #1  
The Professor Says:

The Hebrew Free Burial Society is named as a co-defendant. They do a tremendous amount of chessed shel emes. They usually arrange for free burials of those whose families are too indigent to pay. Is this woman taking her genuine anguish and trying to profit from it?

As a yeshiva student, I myself was called to assist Hebrew Free Burial Society around 7 times to help with the burial proceedings of Meis Mitzvas or of those who's family couldn't afford the costs, or to participate in a funeral for those who couldn't scrape together enough people for a minyan, and I could say that from what I saw, they are truly baalei chesed and tzedaka.
I don't understand why someone would sue an organization like them...

7

 Aug 06, 2015 at 08:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Bob the Lawyer Says:

I have had a number of these cases over the years. They are always the result of bumbling. In one case I demanded to take the deposition of the "shomer," for whose services the family had paid $200 to sit with the body overnight. Our point was, how do you lose the body when someone is supposedly watching it. Turns out, he was blind! Cha-ching.

Typical lawyer make a case when you don't know the reason for something.

A shomer is required by halacha in order to make sure that the body is not vi0olted by vermin. And this can be accomplished by anyone being nearby.

So they provided a parnassah to a blind person and you only went Cha-ching, happy that you made money off of someone's misery and pain.

No wonder lawyers are considered vermin. And unfortunately a shomer did not help protect from such vermin in this case.

8

 Aug 06, 2015 at 08:09 PM YossiPesci Says:

Sha1om what can one say?

Bob the Lawyer how can I get in touch with you? As for the "Professor", they do?

9

 Aug 06, 2015 at 11:44 PM ExpatriateOwl Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Typical lawyer make a case when you don't know the reason for something.

A shomer is required by halacha in order to make sure that the body is not vi0olted by vermin. And this can be accomplished by anyone being nearby.

So they provided a parnassah to a blind person and you only went Cha-ching, happy that you made money off of someone's misery and pain.

No wonder lawyers are considered vermin. And unfortunately a shomer did not help protect from such vermin in this case.

Substitute "shomer" with "airline pilot." And then, let's see how far you stay away from you lawyer.

10

 Aug 07, 2015 at 02:29 AM Goldilocks Says:

True story: "Who is sleeping in MY bed???"

I went with my mother zol zei gezunt unt shtark to visit my father's kever. My mom had bought the plot next to him but we noticed the earth had been disturbed & it appeared someone was buried in "her" spot. She was hysterical so I said I would call the office to see what happened.

When I called & said I was calling for my mother, Mrs. X, the secretary interrupted me & said, "Yes, there was a levaya & accidentally they buried someone in your mother's spot, so we dug him up again." She hinted VERY strongly that they did that because they didn't want the aggravation from my mother. I certainly got that!!!

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! From my mother's point of view, she was just relieved that she had her place next to my father back. As a member of the Chevra Kadisha in NY, I know you don't "dig 'em up" unless there is a true, serious reason. But mistakes happen. And now, every time we go to the Beis Chaim, she looks carefully at the empty place next to my father - and so do I!!

11

 Aug 07, 2015 at 02:33 AM Anonymous Says:

When my chevra does a Tahara, we stick all sorts of identifying papers on the aron, including hospital wrist bands - anything to ensure the nifteress is buried in the correct place. Also, the mantel is from our Kehilla. I feel bad for this woman, but to sue? In the end, her father was buried in the correct spot. Take the free grave, lady, it's a fortune to die these days.

12

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