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posted: 5/24/2012 5:05 PM

Judge puts Elgin wrongful cremation lawsuit back on track

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A lawsuit against an Elgin funeral home from a man who claims his wife was cremated without his permission appears to be back on track.

A Kane County judge Thursday refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Timothy Cahill after Cahill's attorney brought forward more specific allegations against Laird Funeral Home.

"We're pleased with the judge's ruling," said Scott Larson, who is Cahill's attorney. "The case is going to proceed forward, we hope to a conclusion that is favorable to our client."

Cahill sued Laird and Twin Pines Crematorium of East Dundee last year alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress after his wife, Helen, 64, was cremated in early December 2010.

She was struck and killed by a car in Elgin Nov. 22, 2010, but Cahill, an over-the-road trucker, was staying with his mother in Iowa and didn't know she had died. Helen Cahill's son requested and was granted her cremation.

Timothy Cahill maintains his wife wanted to be buried in Tennessee next to her mother.

Judge Judith Brawka told Larson earlier this year he needed to be more specific about allegations against Laird.

Thursday, Larson argued that Laird had received two notifications from Helen Cahill's children claiming to have the power of attorney in her matters and funeral home officials should have asked if Helen had a husband.

"(Laird) knew (Timothy Cahill) was in existence, or should have known," Larson argued. "That is outrageous conduct, judge. They cremated this man's wife without his authorization."

Brawka also noted that Timothy Cahill called the funeral home and identified himself as Helen's husband. The person from the funeral home expressed condolences and told Cahill he needed to come to the funeral home to sign some forms but never indicated Helen Cahill was set for cremation that afternoon, Brawka said.

"That misstatement starts this ball rolling," she said.

Both Laird and Twin Pines have denied any wrongdoing in the matter. The parties are next due in court on July 18. Cahill wants a jury trial and is seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages.

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