Nelms Memorial Funeral Home is being sued by a Huntsville mother after neglecting to embalm her son's body before the funeral.
Norman Holman died at Huntsville Hospital on May 28th due to complications from a blood clot. Mrs. Holman contracted Nelms to handle all the arrangements, including embalming, but that service was never completed. The family arrived at the church to find a horrifying scene.
"Upon their arrival sometime after their friends and family had already gathered for the funeral itself they arrived and found their loved one rotting in the casket. There was dirt underneath his fingernails and people were dry heaving and gagging there at the church," explained the family's attorney John Brinkley.
He says that the funeral was scheduled for June 9th, several days after the death, so the entire family could attend. During that time the body was supposed to be embalmed, but it was not.
"As I understand it sometime after the visitation the air conditioning system failed at Nelms causing the body to decompose at an even faster rate. So the body began to really ripen at this point, this would have been Friday, and the funeral was to occur the following day Saturday," said Brinkley.
The lawsuit states:
"The family, the friends, and other mourners were horrified by the smell, the stench that penetrated the room. Some mourners actually left the room because of the smell. His fingernails and other parts of his body were discolored. The family was humiliated."
Named in the suit, Nelms Memorial Funeral Home and the CEO Charles Ray Jr. Ray was unavailable for comment today but a representative from the business claims Ray has no knowledge of the issue.
The suit also states that the funeral home arrived late to pick up the family and originally took them to the wrong church. Brinkley says the family is seeking a trial by jury and has not asked for any specific monetary compensation. He says that decision will be left up to the jury.
"We hope that Nelms Funeral Home will be punished in a way that no one else will ever have to suffer this type of humiliation for the outrageous acts of Nelms."
Brinkley also says that this is not a first for the funeral home.
"This is not the first time that this firm has had to sue Charlie Ray or Nelms Memorial Funeral Home. In fact there have been several occasions that we have filed suit against him, and it, for similar outrageous acts."