A funeral director has told CNN he is being sued by the widow of an Army soldier who died in Afghanistan.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Houston.
The widow, who identified herself as Jane Doe, filed the lawsuit after she learned that her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Michael Doe, had died in a suicide attack in Kabul.
She claims that after her husband’s death, he was sent to a hospital and told to come back at night for a memorial service.
“He never did,” she said.
The suit alleges that the funeral director, a subcontractor hired by the contractor, was in a position to take over the funeral, but he failed to do so.
The attorney for the widow, Jeffrey R. Sauer, told CNN that she is seeking an injunction to stop the funeral company from taking over the business and prevent it from continuing to take payments.
“There’s nothing that would stop the business from continuing as it was,” he said.
“The law does not say that the deceased cannot have the funeral business.
It says that the business is to be managed by the deceased.”
He said that the contract is in place to take care of the funeral and that the widow and her family “should be given the benefit of the doubt.”
The lawsuit is seeking a temporary restraining order preventing the funeral service company from continuing and said that Sauer has been hired to represent the widow.
Siegel declined to comment on the suit.
In an emailed statement to CNN, the funeral home said that they “are not able to comment at this time on pending litigation.”
Sauer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.
CNN has reached out to the funeral center to clarify whether they are in the business of assisting funeral directors with funeral arrangements.
Seder said in a statement that the law does allow funeral directors to be paid for their work, but that they are prohibited from charging funeral costs.
The statement continued: “The funeral director will be a part of the family funeral arrangements and provide the same quality of service to the family as if he were the actual funeral director.
The funeral director and the family must both agree to the arrangements.”
Seder’s lawsuit said that his wife and the business partner, who is not identified, were “completely unaware” that the service was taking place.
He said they did not learn of the charges until after the ceremony was over.
He claims that the company “failed to comply with their contractual obligation” to take control of the business.
“At no time did they authorize any services to be performed for the deceased,” the lawsuit states.
The company told CNN in a written statement that “the funeral director is a contract employee and is not in charge of the affairs of the company.
The director is in the best position to perform all funeral services.”
The funeral home statement did not address the question of whether funeral directors are allowed to take charge of their own businesses.
“Although funeral directors and funeral homes have a legal responsibility to manage the funeral of their deceased loved ones, it is the business business of the deceased to handle the business affairs of his or her estate,” the statement said.
Sessler told CNN the suit could be a “major setback for funeral services nationwide” because “the death of a person is the last thing that needs to be handled by a funeral home.”
He added that “this case is not about a funeral director’s ability to make a living or to survive financially.”