Michael Maggiano Representing Family After New Jersey Funeral Home Placed Wrong Body In Casket

Michael Maggiano is representing a family who has filed a $50 million lawsuit against a New Jersey funeral home after the wrong body was placed inside their mother’s casket.

Kyung Ja Kim, mother of five, was 93 years old when she died peacefully on November 10, 2021. On the day of her burial, the funeral director at the Blackley Funeral Home took Kummi Kim to view her mother a final time. It was then that Kummi Kim noticed that despite wearing her mother’s clothing and hairstyle, the body in the casket was not her mother. The funeral director told her that work had been done to make her mother look younger. 

In fact, the body in the casket belonged to another woman with the last name of Kim who was nearly 20 years younger than Kyung Ja Kim. In addition to traditional Korean clothes, the family had provided the funeral home with Kyung Ja Kim’s dentures for the burial. The body in the casket had a full set of teeth, however, and the dentures were later found beneath the casket pillow.

Later, as the casket was being lowered into the grave at the cemetery, it was abruptly raised again. The casket was then loaded into a hearse and whisked away without explanation. The Blackley Funeral Home has since admitted its mistake, blaming an error with tags.

Once the mistake had been recognized, the service was rescheduled for the following day. However, the final ceremony was held at the funeral home instead of the church, and family members who had traveled from out of town were unable to attend the make-up service.

Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has brought a lawsuit against the Blackley Funeral Home that has five counts:

  1. Denial of the common law right of a peaceful internment
  2. Intentional negligent infliction
  3. Intentional infliction 
  4. Battery
  5. Breach of contract

The memory of Kyung Ja Kim’s life was marred by the mix-up at her funeral celebration. The family was humiliated and denied the opportunity to say goodbye to their matriarch in a church setting. Many family members were forced to miss the ceremony altogether. Kyung Ja Kim’s body was mishandled and mistreated. The company that promised to care for the body and ensure the family’s wishes were met was negligent and breached its duty. 

Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi is committed to pursuing justice for the Kim family and holding the funeral home accountable for its negligence.

Update Aug. 05, 2022: State Fines Funeral Home for Professional Misconduct

The funeral home responsible for placing the wrong body in the casket of Kyung Ja Kim has been fined $2,500 by the state for “professional misconduct” that led to the burial mixup.

On July 27, two days after the Kim family filed a $50 Million lawsuit, The Central Funeral Home of New Jersey, which operates the Blackley Funeral Home in Ridgefield, N.J. signed an agreement with the State Board of Mortuary Science. In the agreement, the funeral home acknowledged delivering the wrong set of remains to the Promise Church in Leonia, where the open-casket service was being held for Kyung Ja Kim.