The family of the late Nequia Webb-Davidson, who was killed by her husband, has filed a lawsuit against a local Queens funeral home and a New Jersey Cemetery for negligent burial of the woman who was a victim of domestic violence.
Ronald Katter from The Katter Law Firm announced that the family filed a complaint at the New York State Supreme Court, Kings County, against J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home, Inc. in Jamaica, Queens and Rosehill Cemetery of Linden, New Jersey.
The according to the complaint, witnesses say the deceased family member’s casket did not fit into the previously dug grave. The caskets’ lid was not properly closed and it was forced opened when it was lowered into the grave site. Soil and dirt fell into the partially opened casket onto the exposed body.
Witnesses say that part of the casket was in the grave and part of it was above the grave. The funeral home and cemetery employees attempted to re-lowered the casket into the grave several times.
The victim’s family is in shock after the funeral home and cemetery’s mistreatment of the victim’s body and has reportedly “added to their grief,” considering the grim circumstances of her death.
Before her death, Webb-Davidson had reported several incidents of domestic violence by her husband to the authorities. Last year, on Jan. 12, Webb-Davidson had filed an emergency order of protection against her husband. Around 9:15 p.m. on Sunday Jan. 12, 2015 police responded to a shooting on 12000 block of Mason Avenue, Chester Virginia, where Webb-Davidson and her husband were both found dead in her car from gunshot wounds. Webb-Davidson’s husband had shot her to death and then used the same gun to kill himself, officials say.
After her death, Webb-Davidson’s mother and her sisters arranged with J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home to retrieve her remains, choose an appropriate casket and prepare her for a graveside funeral service at the Rosehill Cemetery on Jan. 24, 2015.
Following several unsuccessful attempts to bury Webb-Davidson, eventually the casket was raised above the grave and laborers with shovels entered the empty grave to dig a larger grave. In spite of their efforts, when the casket was lowered into the grave again, it became wedged and the lid opened and more soil, dirt and rocks fell into the casket onto Webb-Davidson’s exposed corpse.
Following the first incident, J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home employees then told Webb-Davidson’s family that the services had to be postponed for the next day. The funeral home and cemetery dug a larger grave and replaced and cleaned the casket and soiled casket for Webb-Davidson’s reburial. Family members returned the following day for the funeral redo only to be subjected to the same events. From the previous day. Once again the casket could not fit in the designated grave and popped open leaving the body in the open.
Ronald Katter, the family’s attorney, said that the funeral home and the cemetery deprived Webb-Davidson’s family of the “Right of Sepulcher,” the right to have a loved one’s remains treated in a respectful and dignified manner. According to Katter, if someone’s loved one’s last rights were not performed with respect, they have a right to sue for negligence.
“The funeral home showed an incredible amount of disrespect not only for the deceased, but for her family, who had to witness this incompetence. It is tragic enough that the family continues to feel the anguish of their sudden loss. Worse, they still have to experience the horrors that occurred that day at the graveside service.” Mr. Katter said.
He said that each of Webb-Davidson’s family members have a case against the funeral home and the cemetery and they are seeking reasonable compensation for the tragedy.
J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home, Inc. in Jamaica, Queens and Rosehill Cemetery of Linden, New Jersey were both contacted, but there was no response from either on the issue.
Webb-Davidson was raised in Brooklyn and she lived Chesterfield Virginia, with her children and husband Terrell Davidson, who was a Fort Lee soldier. She was 40-years-old when she was killed and was a mother of five between the ages of 13 and 21.