Illegal sale of human remains by former morgue manager caused emotional distress for families
BOSTON, MA (June 16, 2023) – Keches Law Group filed a class action lawsuit Friday on behalf of families who suffered emotional distress due to the alleged illegal sale of human remains by the former morgue manager at Harvard Medical School.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of the horrific allegations that Cedric Lodge, former Harvard Medical School morgue manager, sold body parts that had been donated to the school on the black market.
Lodge, 55, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, was indicted and arrested and charged with unlawful interstate transport of stolen human remains from “in or about 2018 through on or about Aug. 16, 2022,” according to a statement from Harvard officials.
Lodge was one of five people charged in the scandal, none of whom were associated with the university. Investigators believe that Lodge worked without cooperation of anyone else at Harvard Medical School or Harvard University.
Keches Law Partners Jonathan Sweet and Jeff Catalano spoke to reporters Friday evening in a press conference. Watch the full video below.
Catalano, who specializes in medical malpractice cases, said when someone suffers the trauma of losing a loved one, “sometimes the only thing they can latch onto is that their loved ones’ remains are going to be used for an important scientific purpose. Harvard owed a duty of care to the families who entrusted the school with custody of their loved one’s donated bodies, he said.
“Medical schools like Harvard have a duty to ensure [donated remains] are handled properly and with decency and to ensure they are used for their intended purpose of scientific study,” Catalano said, citing Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 113, Sec. 1-5.
Based on precedent set by cases like Kelly v. Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts law allows for recovery of emotional damages when close family members traumatized by the death of a loved one experience serious mental anguish caused by harm to the decedent’s remains resulting from a breach of that duty.
“When there’s a breach of that duty, the way the family can be compensated for that is through an emotional distress claim,” Catalano said.
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Harvard Class Action
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Keches Law Group is one of the largest and most well-respected personal injury and workers’ compensation law firms in Massachusetts. Since opening in 1986, the group has recovered more than $2 billion for their clients and has supported unions and fights for the rights of people injured on the job throughout the greater Boston area, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Other practice areas include social security disability, employment law, class action, medical malpractice, and more. Keches Law Group also prioritizes community involvement and charitable causes through their non-profit organization, Keches Cares. For more information, visit the Keches Law website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
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