The Katter Law Firm recently filed a lawsuit against J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home, Inc. in Jamaica, New York and Rosehill Cemetery in Linden, New Jersey alleging that both were negligent in handling the burial of Nequia Webb-Davidson, a victim of domestic violence.
Ms. Webb-Davidson, who was raised in Brooklyn and lived in Virginia, was shot to death by her husband in January 2014 in an apparent murder-suicide. She had filed an emergency order of protection against her husband, Terrell Davidson, before the incident. She had reported a number of domestic violence incidents to the authorities.
The suit, which was filed on behalf of the family of the deceased, claims that the grave was not dug large enough for the casket to fit. When the casket was lowered, it became stuck on the sidewall of the grave. As the casket was raised, the lid opened up and dirt and soil entered into the casket, pouring onto the exposed remains. Despite attempts to widen and deepen the grave, the casket still could not be lowered and the lid of the casket opened up again, allowing more dirt and soil to get inside the casket and fall onto the deceased.
The family’s grief was further compounded when the funeral home’s employee told them the funeral had to be postponed until the next day. The funeral home and cemetery had to dig a larger grave using a backhoe, clean the rocks and soil out of the casket, replace the soiled casket’s liner, properly close the casket and rebury Ms. Webb-Davidson’s remains. Her family and the mourners who were able to attend for a second day returned the following day for the completion of the funeral.
Attorney Ronald Katter described the situation as “tragic enough,” considering that the family was already dealing with the death of a loved one but now has to deal with the after-effects of an improper burial.
Media coverage of this case can be viewed here.