A.L. Spaulding/Barnes Funeral Home owner in McRae being sued.
Posted in the McRae Forum
#1 Aug 5, 2012
Woman sues Sylvania Funeral Home
Alleges her husband's remains were not handled properly
A Sylvania woman alleges a local funeral home mishandled her husbands body, allowing it to decompose to the point that the man had to be buried naked in a body bag.
Emma Williams filed a lawsuit July 19 against Sylvania Funeral Home claiming her husbands body was improperly embalmed, stored incorrectly, and that the funeral home staff refused to allow her to view the body.
According to Megan Haley, an attorney with Atlanta-based Fellows La Briola LLP, Williams filed a lawsuit in the State Court of Chatham County.The suit also lists James Vernard Flowers, whom she said she was led to believe was the funeral director, and Jarvis Elaine Barnes, who is the funeral director and whom Emma Williams had never met. According to Georgia Secretary of State records, Flowers is the CEO of Sylvania Funeral Home and had never been a licensed funeral home director. His funeral services apprentice license expired in 2008, according to the lawsuit.
Johnny Lee Williams Jr., 61, died Wednesday, Jan. 18 in Hiltonia, Screven County Coroner James M. Strickland pronounced him dead of a severe heart attack.
Strickland delivered Williams body to Sylvania Funeral Home about two hours after he died and noted the body was in good condition, according to the suit.
The next day, when Emma Williams went to make arrangements and view the body, she was told Flowers was not there and she could not see her husbands body.
In a call on Sunday, four days after Johnny Williams death, Emma Williams was notified of an appointment with Flowers later that day.
When Flowers met with Emma Williams, he was concerned about her insurance not covering expenses and said Johnny Williams body had been received in very poor condition, the lawsuit states.
Emma Williams was still denied the chance to see her husbands body.
Frustrated, Emma Williams notified Sylvania Funeral Home that she would have another local business, Gaines Funeral Home, pick up her husbands body. According to the lawsuit, Flowers demanded more time to do further work on the body, including aspirate it once more. He also refused to allow the body to be taken until $900 was paid for his efforts. Upon further requests from Gaines Funeral Home, Flowers agreed to let the body be picked up Jan. 24, six days after Johnny Williams death.
The representative of Gaines Funeral Home told Emma Williams the body was found to be in very bad condition with skin slippage in some areas, and emanated the odor of a decomposing body, according to the suit.
Gaines Funeral Home called Strickland, who viewed the body in its condition. Strickland stated, according to the suit, that (Johnny) Williams body was now discolored, bloated, had skin slippage, and a noxious odor consistent with what happens to a body when not stored properly or is not embalmed properly or in a timely manner.
The body was in such poor condition it had to be buried before the funeral,without any clothing, naked in a body bag, according to the suit. As Flowers supervisor and funeral director of Sylvania Funeral Home, it was Barnes responsibility to ensure proper handling of the body, and she is being named in the suit as well, the attorney said. Mr. Flowers avoided Mrs. Williams attempts to meet with him for several days and, when he eventually did meet with her, attempted to cover up the improper treatment of her late husbands remains, Haley said.Through this lawsuit, Mrs. Williams is hopeful that legal discovery, media inquiry and/or Georgia regulatory or law enforcement investigation will assist in ensuring that justice is served and preventing what has occurred to her and her family from happening to anyone else.
She is also suing for breach of contract, negligence, willful interference of remains and intentional mishandling of a corpse, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
#2 Aug 5, 2012
People we think we know.
#3 Aug 5, 2012
If she did it there what will she do in McRae. It will be good when the real Spaulding's open. Never heard anyting happening like this from that family. The real Spaulding name is what we know and trust in the funeral busines. It's good Robert and Mack are not a part of the old funeral home that's still using the Spauding name in McRae.
#4 Aug 5, 2012
You're right On Top. As a matter of fact there's not even a Spaulding working at the AL Spaulding funeral home. She should be proud of the Barnes name and use it.
#5 Aug 5, 2012
She probably should wait until the dust clears in Sylvania Ga. first. Her last name isn't sounding to good right now.
#6 Sep 11, 2012
It is shame that people are able to make false accusations about good people.
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