Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The family of theater legend Leonard Melfi has been awarded $1.25 million in a settlement pertaining to the right to a proper burial and medical malpractice. In 2001, Melfi died of alcohol-related causes, but his family was never informed of his passing. Instead, his body was donated to Nassau Community College for use in embalming class. Concerned neighbors eventually noticed his disappearance and notified family members. His family sued Mount Sinai Hospital, claiming negligence and punitive damages. After twelve years and three attorneys, brother John Melfi finally received a judgment order from Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling.
See Legendary Playwright's Body Was Used By Medical Students For Embalming Practice After Hospital Failed To Tell Family He Had Died, Mail Online, Jan. 26, 2014.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.