Local Funeral Homes Hit With Lawsuits

One Asks $300 Million In Tri-State Crematory Case

Friday, February 22, 2002
John Taylor, owner of Taylor Funeral Home in Chattanooga, was among those at a press conference at Rock Spring on the Tri-State Crematory case. Taylor was among the local funeral homes sued on Friday. Mr. Taylor, center, is on the Chattanooga City Council. Click to enlarge all our photos.
John Taylor, owner of Taylor Funeral Home in Chattanooga, was among those at a press conference at Rock Spring on the Tri-State Crematory case. Taylor was among the local funeral homes sued on Friday. Mr. Taylor, center, is on the Chattanooga City Council. Click to enlarge all our photos.
- photo by John Wilson

Two lawsuits against Chattanooga funeral homes were filed Friday in Hamilton County Circuit Court.

A lawsuit asking $300 million in damages was lodged against Taylor Funeral Home, Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home and other unnamed funeral homes in the Tri-State Crematory case.

A second lawsuit that did not specify damages was filed by Chattanooga attorney Jerry Summers and Rossville attorney Chris Townley against Turner Funeral Home and the Ray and Brent Marsh family. That suit was also filed in Walker County, Ga.

Plaintiffs in the first case are Joe C. Oden Jr. and James Greer.

Mr. Oden said his wife was sent by Taylor Funeral Home to be cremated at the facility at Noble, Ga., where scores of bodies have been found.

Mr. Greer said his son had been sent by Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home to Tri-State to be cremated.

The lawsuit asks that it may be declared a class action so others may join in the suit.

It was filed by Nashville attorneys David Randolph Smith, Edmond Schmidt and J. Allen Murphy Jr.

Libby Workman is the plaintiff in the second lawsuit, which also asks to be declared a class action. Her husband, John P. Workman, died Feb. 6.

The suit says Mike Turner of Turner Funeral home "knew or should have known" that for several years the crematory equipment was inoperable and bodies were being "discarded."

It says Turner Funeral Home had an obligation to dispose of the body entrusted to it properly.

The suit says Turner Funeral Home violated state laws dealing with burial and cremations.

The complaint says Turner Funeral Home charged Ms. Workman for transportation of the body for cremation though it knew Brent Marsh would pick up the body and return ashes.

The suit said, "Instead of being cremated, the body was stacked up in a shed on the defendant Marsh's property along with other human corpses."

It says a few days later the alleged remains of Mr. Workman were returned to Mrs. Workman "without any identifying information." It says the family had a service "in honor of the deceased in which part of the remains they had been provided were committed to the earth."

The lawsuit says the body of Mr. Workman has been identified and returned to Turner Funeral Home. Mrs. Workman said she now will have to have the body cremated "as she originally thought had been done."

The suit says Turner Funeral Home and Marsh "had a duty to respectfully, properly and legally perform the cremation of the plaintiff's loved one."



Gaines Charged In Assault On Ex-Wife, MLK Boulevard Barber

Eric Lee Gaines has been arrested for an assault on his ex-wife and a well-known MLK Boulevard barber. Gaines, 33, of 2803 Curtis St., was charged with disorderly conduct, domestic assault, assault, burglary of a business, public intoxication and retaliation against an officer. In the incident on Thursday, police were summoned to MLK Boulevard on an intoxicated individual. ... (click for more)

Teen Charged With Stealing TVs, Watches From House That Just Burned

Police have charged 19-year-old Ellis Stevenson with stealing TVs and watches from a house that had just burned. Stevenson, of 4512 Midland Pike, was charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property and vandalism. A juvenile was also arrested. Police said in the incident on Sunday around 11 a.m. that the pair forced their way into the residence on Kemp Drive that had ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response (3)

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Georgia’s Weak Attacked

The United States Attorney’s Office and our nation’s Justice Department just thrust an unwelcomed spear into the heart of the state of Georgia. And while I am scared to death the same war party is now headed into Tennessee and other states, I wish the DOJ had stopped in Chattanooga for lunch and a quick visit at our Orange Grove Center before filing last Tuesday’s lawsuit against ... (click for more)

Lookouts' Bullpen Failure Leads To Come-From-Behind Win For Suns Sunday

The Lookouts were in control of  Sunday  afternoon's game up until the eighth and ninth inning when the M-Braves scored three runs to beat Chattanooga, 5-4. Chattanooga's offense jumped out to an early lead after being sparked by leadoff hitter Zach Granite. Granite started the home half of the first with a base hit to right field, danced on and off of first base ... (click for more)

Mocs Volleyball Sweeps Chattanooga Classic

The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team completed their fourth 3-0 sweep of the weekend on Sunday afternoon against California State at Fullerton as part of the Chattanooga Classic – presented by Hampton Inn & Suites - held in Maclellan Gym. The Mocs came out swinging by winning the first set 25-11 and then went on to win 25-18 and 25-17 in sets two and three, respectively. ... (click for more)