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updated: 5/23/2014 5:29 PM

Elgin wrongful cremation lawsuit could end in July

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A contentious wrongful cremation lawsuit against an Elgin funeral home could be resolved in July.

Timothy Cahill sued Laird Funeral Home and Twin Pines Crematory in 2011, arguing his wife, Helen, who was killed Nov. 22, 2010, wanted to be buried in Tennessee but instead was cremated without his knowledge or permission.

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Attorneys for Laird recently filed court documents asking Kane County Judge Edward Schreiber for a summary judgment, which is when a judge rules on a matter of law instead of overseeing a trial.

Laird attorneys want Cahill's lawsuit dismissed, arguing he's failed to show the actions of the funeral home and the East Dundee crematory were intended to cause him emotional distress.

"This is not a case where another person co-mingled decedent's remains in their backyard in an attempt to inflict severe emotional pain upon plaintiff," wrote attorneys Adam Kreuzer and Jeffrey Harger, adding Helen Cahill's ashes are still at the funeral home and could be buried in Tennessee.

"There is no evidence that Laird was part of any conspiracy to willfully inflict emotional distress upon plaintiff," the attorneys continued.

In his lawsuit, Cahill, an over-the-road trucker, argues he was staying with his mother in Davenport, Iowa, when his wife was struck and killed by a truck on McLean Boulevard in Elgin.

Cahill, in the suit, argues he returned to the couple's Elgin home Dec. 1, 2010, on what would have been Helen's 65th birthday, but it had been cleaned out. Cahill argues he eventually found out she died and went to Laird Dec. 3, but was told he could not see her nor say goodbye.

The suit argues Helen's body was cremated Dec. 2, 2010, and in the absence of a will, Timothy Cahill should have had the final say, thus violating the Illinois Crematory Regulation Act.

Laird officials maintain they tried to contact Timothy Cahill, but could not locate him. They located Helen's son from a previous marriage and then-Coroner Chuck West authorized the cremation.

Cahill's attorney, Scott Larson, argues there is no dispute under Illinois law that his client had the final say regarding his wife's remains.

"Since the beginning of this case, defendant Laird has been throwing whatever it could against the wall to get the court to ignore the simple facts of this case. They (and co-defendant Twin Pines) cremated Helen Cahill without her husband's permission in violation of state law," Larson wrote. "Either that statute means something or it does not."

Cahill is seeking unspecified damages. The two sides are due in court July 2.

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