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HUMA 1825 (26)

Melfi v. Mount Sinai Hospital Notes

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HUMA 1825
Neil Braganza

HUMA 1825 Case Notes John Melfi v Mount Sinai Hospital et al 2009Theplaintiff John Melfi brings this action for inter alia loss of sepulcherafter his brothers body was sent to a community college for embalming practice and then for a burial in a mass grave in Potters Field Leonard Melfi was a playwright who suffered a congestive heart ofailure and after being brought to Mount Sinai Hospital didnt receive any treatment The hospital had his name but omitted any additional information oincluding his address SIN and contact information Despite claims from Dr Bruns operating surgeon of making two calls they were undocumented His body remained in the hospital for 30 days after which it was otransferred to another morgue There was no record of the hospitals attempting to contact a next of kin He was experimented on and then buried in a mass graveTwo months after his burial his family received information of his odeath The defendants filed a claim that no notifications were made oregarding Mr Melfis death and that his body was illegally embalmment sic without the permission of next of kinOn October 21 2002 the plaintiff commenced this action against the ocity defendants and Mt Sinai hospital The court initially dismissed both the claimsThe Health and Hospital Corporation HCC complained that the court erred because the plaintiffs notice was untimely HHCs claim was rejected because it fails to recognize the essential nature of the right of sepulcher a unique cause of action among the torts recognized at common lawFor thousands of years the right of sepulcher was solely emotional injuryLess of a quasilegal property right and more of a legal right to the onext of kin finding solace and comfort The cause of action does not accrue until interference with the right directly impacts the solace and comfort Because the injury is mentalemotional it is axiomatic that the plaintiff must be aware of the interference to their distress before they can experience distressThe right of sepulcher has been ritualized since earliest preChristian civilizations mummifications Romans duty of burial reverence for the dead rd Moschion Greek poet 3 century BC opined that mankind buried dead to remove traces of former savage existence or the cannibalism of the TitansIn Antigone the right to be buried is given by the Gods The ancient concept thof burial rights provides origins for American jurisprudence In the 17 century the church enforced all necessary rules for proper sepulcherNullius in Bonis means goods of no one No ones propertyLarson v Chase the defendant argued that the plaintiffs widow had no legal interest in or right to the body of her deceased husband The defendant
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