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A family suing a Brooklyn cemetery over the botched burial of their mother’s coffin scored a legal win Monday when a Bronx judge ruled the cemetery was liable in the horrific case.
Justice Mary Ann Briganti granted the summary judgment sought by Jose Semidey and Awilda Rivera — whose family watched in horror last June as workers at The Evergreens Cemetery tried to force the coffin into a grave that was dug too small, according to their suit.
The coffin, carrying the remains of 79-year-old Claribel Oppenheimer, got stuck in the grave and popped open in front of 35 mourners as workers struggled to shake it free during the June 24 burial, the suit says.
Cemetery workers moved the coffin to the grass and brought in a backhoe to lengthen the grave, according to the suit.
Oppenheimer’s body was eventually transferred to a new coffin at a nearby funeral home and lowered to her final resting place headfirst, the suit said.
The case will now be heard by a jury, who will determine the amount of damages due in the case, according to Eric Rothstein, an attorney for Oppenheimer’s children.
“I am extremely pleased that the Judge viewed the videos and ruled that the cemetery violated my clients’ right to find solace and comfort in their mother’s burial and improperly dealt with her body,” Rothstein said in a statement.
“We look forward to letting a Bronx jury decide how much the cemetery must pay to compensate them for their emotional damages.”
A spokesperson for the cemetery couldn’t be reached for comment.