Latest Tri-State Crematory Lawsuit Seeks $100 Million In Damages

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

The latest in the Tri-State Crematory lawsuits is seeking $100 million in damages.

The Hamilton County Circuit Court lawsuit names as defendants all Tennessee funeral homes that sent bodies to the Noble, Ga., site where 339 uncremated bodies were found, Nashville attorney David Randolph Smith.

He is seeking to have those funeral homes certified as a defendants class.

The suit names Taylor Funeral Home and Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home "as representatives of the defendant class." Members of the Marsh family that operated the crematory are also sued.

There are 29 plaintiffs who had loved ones sent to the Marsh family facility.

Attorney Smith said Hamilton County is the logical place to try the cases involving the Tennessee funeral homes. He noted a large number of bodies were sent from Hamilton County to the crematory.

Funeral homes named also included Buckner-Rush, Chattanooga Funeral Home, Covenant Funeral Service, Cumberland Funeral Home, Ewton Funeral Home, Family Mortuary, Fike Funeral Home, Foster & Lay Funeral Home, Gerry Dale Layne and Tracy City Funeral Home, Gilmore Funeral Home, Hardwick and Sons Funeral Home, J. Avery Bryan Funeral Home, Lane Funeral Home, Layne Funeral Home, Memorial Mortuary, Patton's Funeral Home, Pikeville Funeral Home, Pinkard and Mee Funeral Service, Putnam-Reed Funeral Home, Ralph Buckner Funeral Home, Rogers Funeral Home, Sequatchie Valley Memorial Funeral Home, Turner Funeral Home, Wann Funeral Home and Williamson and Sons Funeral Home.

Plaintiffs include:

Joe Oden Jr. of Chattanooga, whose wife, Jerlean Oden died Dec. 20, 2001, and the body was handled by Taylor.

James Greer of East Ridge, whose son, Gregory Wayne Gree, died on Feb. 9, 2002, and the body was handled by Franklin-Strickland.

Catherine Adams of Monteagle, whose husband, Robert Howard Adams, died March 2, 1994, and the body was handled by Cumberland Funeral Home of Monteagle.

Rick Bohr of Nashville, whose mother, Florence Robbins Bohr, died Nov. 28, 1999, and whose body was handled by Wann. Her body was found at the Marsh site, though cremains were earlier given to the family.

Quincy and Barbara Branum of Soddy-Daisy. Mr. Branum's father, Harry Lynn Branum, died Aug. 31, 1994, and the body was handled by Turner.

Bobbi Cann of Chattanooga, whose husband, Gary Lee Cann, died Oct. 22, 2000, and the body was handled by Turner.

Lisa Cunningham of Chattanooga and Peggy Hamblin of Stockton, Ca., granddaughter and daughter of Bertha Lou Cunningham, who died Oct. 20, 2000, and whose body was handled by Turner.

Patty Davenport of Chattanooga, whose mother, Aletha Richard, died Feb. 17, 1999, and the body was handled by Crombie-Pinkard.

John William Fairbanks Jr. of Dalton, whose father, John William Fairbanks Sr., died in 1996 and the body was handled by Buckner-Rush.

Judy Harmon of Woodbury, Tn., whose father, Ira Vann Jr., died on Oct. 2, 1993, whose mother, Jewell Dean Prince, who died Oct. 3, 1998, and whose sister, Ricky Caly Vann, died on Nov. 24, 1993. The bodies were handled by Gilmore Funeral Home in Manchester.

Zuki Hornyak of Senatobia, Miss., whose father, Stephen William Hornyak, died on Sept. 30, 2001, and the body was handled by J. Avery Bryan Funeral Home. The remains given Mr. Hornyak were identified as concrete, the suit says.

Randy Kindig of Manchester, whose father, Neal Kindig, died on Oct. 15, 2000, and whose body was handled by Gilmore.

Claude McMahan of Summitville, Tn., whose brother, Edd McMahan, died Oct. 19, 1996, and the body was handled by Gilmore.

Charles Millsaps of Cleveland, whose sister, Arline Clark, died Oct. 15, 2001, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush.

Joe Morgan of Rockville, Tn., whose mother, Mignon Morgan, died March 29, 1994, and whose body was handled by Gilmore.

Marilyn Kleinfeldt Murphy of Cleveland, executrix of Doris Mae Tierney, who died Nov. 22, 2000, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush, and daughter of Orville Tierney, who died Dec. 30, 1987, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush.

James M. Petty Jr. and Helen Newbern of Monteagle, whose father, James M. Petty Sr., died Feb. 18, 1990, and whose body was handled by Cumberland Funeral Home of Monteagle.

Diana Reece of Ellijay, Ga., whose father, Malcolm Charles Holder, died Dec. 4, 1999, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush.

Marian and Arnold Russell of Tracy City, whose father, Samuel Robert Arnold, died Dec. 12, 1986, and whose body was handled by Foster & Lay Funeral Home.

Gordon Sayers of Cleveland, whose wife, Donna Mae Sayers, died Oct. 8, 1997, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush.

Linda and Asher Saylor of Dayton, Ky., whose father, Welby Joe Saylor, died Jan. 28, 2001, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush. His body was found at the Marsh site, though cremains were earlier given to the family.

Don and Paul Shull of Cleveland, Scott Shull of Fort Mills, S.C., and Larry Shull, of Charleston, Tn., whose father, Clifford H. Shull, died June 13, 1993, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush.

Jeff Smith of Cleveland and Nancy Smith of The Village, Fla., whose grandfather, Edward Lewis Morgan, died Oct. 10, 1999, and grandmother, Ellen Jane Morgan, died in 1993, and whose bodies were handled by Buckner-Rush.

Michelle Staton of Chattanooga, whose father, Gary Staton, died on Jan. 28, 2001, and whose body was handled by Turner. His body was found at the Marsh site, though cremains were earlier given to the family.

Madeline Swanson of Chattanooga, whose husband, Walter Lee Swanson Sr., died July 30, 2000, and whose body was handled by Taylor.

Phyllis Swink of Cleveland, whose husband, Billie J. Swink, died May 11, 2000, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush. The cremains were identified as wood chips.

Barbara T. Tesar of Surprise, Ariz., whose husband, John Donald Tesar, died Aug. 9, 1997, and whose father, William B. Thuesen, died June 14, 1987, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush. The cremains given the family as those of Mr. Tesar were identified as wood chips.

Ruby Thomas of Cleveland, whose brother, William Richard Mason, died on Oct. 6, 1992, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush.

Melissa Whitfield of Cleveland, whose father, Edmund E. Beach, died March 19, 2000, and whose body was handled by Buckner-Rush. His body was found at the Marsh site, though cremains were earlier given to the family.


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