Family Sues Funeral Home For $50 Million After Wrong Body Put In Casket

By Bill Galluccio

July 27, 2022

Funeral procession in cemetery.
Photo: Getty Images

A New Jersey family filed a $50 million lawsuit against a funeral home after the wrong body was put in the casket. When Kummi Kim saw the body, she immediately knew something wasn't right.

Kim went to the funeral director and told her that the body didn't look like her mother, 93-year-old Kyung Ja Kim. According to the lawsuit, the funeral director, Haemin Gina Chong, "responded with a very clear expression of denial and dismay over the question as if Plaintiff Kummi did not appreciate a different appearance after death."

Kim and her family believed Chong and assumed that their mother's altered appearance was the result of the embalming process. They continued with the funeral and then transported the casket to the cemetery.

That's when Kim learned that she was correct; a different woman was in the casket. Chong approached Kim after the coffin had been lowered into the ground and showed her a picture of her mother. When Kim confirmed it was her mother in the photograph, Chong ordered the staff to lift the coffin out of the ground and return it to the funeral home.

When the family returned to the funeral home, Chong admitted to the mix-up.

"We were so peaceful, and we were admiring her life," Kim said during a press conference, according to USA Today. "And then, all of a sudden, it was wrong. I felt disaster at that time. "

The Kims reburied their mother the next day but were upset they could not hold the service at a church because it was a Sunday.

"I feel very sad and angry that we couldn't accomplish her final wish, that she wanted to say bye to us at the church," Kim told WNBC.

Kim also noted that the family of the other woman, Whaja Kim, were victims as well. She said that they had to hold a closed-casket funeral because the body had started to decompose.

The funeral home has not commented on the lawsuit.

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