Zawadski v. Brewer Funeral Services

Summary

Lambda Legal joined a lawsuit against a Picayune, MS, funeral home for refusing to provide any service for Robert Huskey after his death, leaving his 82-year-old husband, Jack Zawadski, desperate to make other arrangements in the hours after his beloved spouse’s passing. The suit seeks damages for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Jack and Bob were a loving couple for 52 years who moved to Picayune, Mississippi 20 years ago to retire. They loved Picayune and felt welcome in the community. After state marriage bans were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, they married in Mississippi. Bob was in failing health, and soon after the wedding, he entered a nursing home. In late April, 2016, knowing Bob’s time was short, their nephew, John Gaspari, made arrangements with Picayune Funeral Home to cremate Bob after his death at Picayune Funeral Home’s on-site crematorium – the only crematorium in Pearl River County.

After Bob died on May 11, 2016, the nursing home provided Picayune Funeral Home with necessary information confirming Bob’s death and identifying Jack as his husband. Shortly thereafter, the nursing home called their nephew John and informed him that Picayune Funeral Home was now refusing to pick up the body and perform the cremation. Since the nursing home could not keep Bob’s body on site, Jack and John had to scramble to locate another funeral home with an on-site crematorium. They located one in Hattiesburg, some 90 miles away. By that time, because Bob’s body could not be housed at the nursing home for the hours it would take for the Hattiesburg hearse to arrive, they had to find yet another funeral home in Picayune willing to transport Bob’s body to Hattiesburg.

Case Information

Status: Open

Lambda Legal

Beth Littrell, Counsel and Racial Justice and Low-Income Advocacy Strategist

Susan Sommer, Associate Legal Director and Director of Constitutional Litigation