Wrongful cremation lawsuit settled, funeral home attorney says
A long-running lawsuit between an Elgin funeral home and a man who argued his wife was wrongfully cremated has been settled for $30,000, according to one of the attorneys in the case.
Laird Funeral Home agreed to pay Timothy Cahill $22,500 under the settlement agreement, with Twin Pines Crematorium of East Dundee paying $7,500, Adam Kreuzer, Laird defense attorney, said Tuesday.
Kreuzer said $30,000 is about what it would have cost to defend the lawsuit, which was set for trial in late 2016. Kreuzer said neither Laird nor Twin Pines admitted to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
"Laird did its best in a difficult situation," Kreuzer said. "It was a difficult case for everybody."
Cahill sued the Elgin funeral home, the crematorium and the Kane County coroner's office in 2011 for damages in excess of $50,000, saying the entities violated the Illinois Crematory Regulation Act.
Cahill, a trucker, argued in his lawsuit that the body of his wife, Helen Cahill, 64, who was struck and killed by a car Nov. 22, 2010 at McLean Boulevard and College Green Drive in Elgin, was cremated when she had wanted to be buried next to her mother in Nashville, Tennessee.
Cahill's lawsuit said he was staying with his mother in Davenport, Iowa, and returned home Dec. 1, 2010, on what would have been Helen's 65th birthday to find his home empty. The lawsuit states he went to the funeral home but was not allowed to see his wife's body.
Kreuzer said the coroner's office unsuccessfully tried to contact Cahill after his wife's death. Helen Cahill's son from a previous marriage gave consent for cremation and the coroner's office issued a permit.
"From what we understand, (cremation) was Helen Cahill's wish," Kreuzer said. "It was an unfortunate circumstance that involved people who didn't get along very well -- the Cahill family."
Scott Larson, the attorney who represented Timothy Cahill, confirmed there was a settlement but declined to elaborate.
The lawsuit, which was dismissed by Judge Edward Schreiber on the eve of a jury trial after the settlement was reached, cannot be refiled, according to court records.