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."



Person Shot On Greenway View Drive Saturday Evening

Chattanooga Police responded at 7:17 p.m. on Saturday to the 400 block of Greenway View Drive on the report of a shooting. Police located one victim suffering from a gunshot wound. Witnesses told police the victim emerged from the woods at 400 block of Greenway View Drive claiming to have been shot.  The victim was transported to a local hospital by HCEMS ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BARBY, MATTHEW DEWAYNE  4030 DORRIS ST CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 47 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga CONTEMPT OF COURT(NON-SUPPORT) --- BARNEY, DARRYL BOJANGLES  2106 LAURA STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Settle It With A Vote

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which I consider a pretty good authority on what words really mean, defines “freedom” in this way:  “The quality or state of being free: such as, (a) the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; (b) liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another; (c) independence -- the quality or state of being exempt ... (click for more)

Shrum, Gautier Win Communities In Schools 5K

Ryan Shrum and Jan Gautier may still be recovering from the Boston Marathon 12 days ago, but that didn’t keep them from winning overall titles in the 18 th Annual Communities In Schools 5K in Ringgold Saturday morning. The race, a circular 3.1-mile route that was somewhat flat, but included a few challenging climbs, was sponsored by First Volunteer Bank with proceeds benefitting ... (click for more)

Baylor Baseball Complex Dedicated to the Etters and Wyatt McMahan

It was the summer of 1961 and a 10-year-old boy and a college grad were starting their baseball journey – a journey which would eventually connect them for decades to come. While Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were chasing the ghost of Babe Ruth and the then home run record of 60 round trippers, Wyatt McMahan was in his first year in Joe Engel’s Knothole League in White Oak ... (click for more)