Woman sues funeral home for giving father's ashes to sister

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jul. 18, 2011, 2:21pm

GALVESTON - A Spring woman claims a local funeral home ignored her instructions regarding her father's ashes and has filed a lawsuit.

Rose Woods-Brown filed suit against Carnes Funeral Home Inc. on July 13 in Galveston County Court at Law No. 2. She alleges Carnes gave the cremated remains of her father, Spencer Woods, to a sibling instead of to Woods-Brown and her daughter as was designated in an agreement.

Recent court documents explain that Woods placed Woods-Brown in charge of the disposition of his body prior to his death last Feb. 3.

She contacted Carnes about cremation services, requesting the ashes be placed in three separate urns.

Carnes and Woods-Brown then entered into the agreement on Feb. 3, consenting to the plaintiff controlling all business aspects in connection with her father's final wishes.

A funeral home representative notified Woods-Brown that the cremation took place on Feb. 17, but she told him to hold off on the release of the ashes until she returned from out of town.

Woods-Brown went to retrieve the urns on Feb. 25 only to learn that the funeral home allegedly entrusted them and the death certificates to her sister without her authorization.

The suit further argues that Carnes's actions violated the agreement and Woods-Brown's sister is mentally unstable, adding the defendant did nothing to return or even locate the ashes.

Consequently, the complainant sues for breach of contract, fraud, common law fraud, negligence and deceptive trade practices.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Elizabeth M. Bruman of Houston is representing Woods-Brown, and Galveston County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Barbara Roberts is presiding over the case.

Cause No. 65,636

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