A widow and her family are suing Celebrity Cruises because they say the company mistreated her husband’s body after he died on a ship last year. They say the body was left to rot, which caused them a lot of mental pain.
Robert Jones, Marilyn Jones’s husband of 55 years, died of a heart attack on the Celebrity Equinox on August 15. According to a federal lawsuit filed in Florida, his body was kept for almost a week in a walk-in cooler used for drinks instead of a proper morgue as she had been told.
That made the body swollen and green, and the family couldn’t have an open-casket funeral, which was a long-standing family tradition and what his family wanted, according to the case. Marilyn Jones, her two daughters, and her three grandkids want $1 million in compensation for their injuries.
Celebrity Cruises didn’t say anything because the case is sensitive and “out of respect for the family.” The Celebrity Equinox sails from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean all year long. It is registered in Malta and can hold almost 3,000 guests and 1,200 crew members.
The case was filed Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale. It says that after Robert Jones died, crew members gave his wife two options.
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Crew Members Gave Robert Jones’ Wife Two Options
They reportedly told Marilyn Jones, who was 78 at the time and from the Florida Panhandle, that his body could be taken off at the next stop, Puerto Rico, or kept in the morgue until the ship got back to Fort Lauderdale in six days. Most big cruise ships have a morgue because sometimes people die on board.
The crew told her that if she picked Puerto Rico, she would have to take the body with her and then figure out how to get back to Florida. She was also told that island official might want an autopsy, which could make their return even later.
Jones chose the morgue because she was by herself. But the claim says that wasn’t where the body was kept.
When the ship got to Florida, someone who worked at a funeral home and a Broward County sheriff’s officer found that the morgue didn’t seem to be working. The suit says that they found the body in a walk-in drink cooler. It was in a bag on a tray.
It says that the cooler was much warmer than the near-freezing temperatures needed to store a body properly and that Robert Jones’ remains were in “advanced stages of decomposition.”
Celebrity’s actions caused the family “extreme trauma by seeing Mr. Jones’s body horribly decomposed and knowing their husband and father was carelessly left in a beverage cooler, robbing him of his dignity,” the lawsuit says.
Jones’s lawyers want a trial with a jury.
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