Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harrod v. Caney

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

February 23, 2018

WILL HARROD, INDIVIDUALLY AND WILL HARROD, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS FRANKLIN COUNTY CORONER APPELLANT
v.
KATHLEEN CANEY APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM FRANKLIN CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE PHILLIP J. SHEPHERD, JUDGE ACTION NO. 15-CI-00621

          BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT: D. Barry Stilz Robert C. “Coley” Stilz, III Lexington, Kentucky Paul (Skip) Gaines Frankfort, Kentucky.

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Joshua S. Harp Frankfort, Kentucky.

          BEFORE: JOHNSON, JONES AND THOMPSON, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          THOMPSON, JUDGE.

         Robert Caney's wife, Kathleen Caney, filed a complaint against Will Harrod, individually and in his official capacity as Franklin County Coroner, based on his seizure of and subsequent conduct concerning Robert's body after Robert died. Kathleen alleged unlawful invasion of the right of sepulture, and mishandling and mutilation of a corpse; tortious interference with contract; and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Harrod appeals from the Franklin Circuit Court's opinion and order denying his motion to dismiss or for summary judgment based on absolute immunity and qualified immunity.

         Harrod is the Franklin County Coroner and the owner, operator and funeral director of Harrod Brothers, a funeral home. As coroner, he conducts post-mortem examinations in coroner's cases.[1]

         Robert was previously married to Mary Ann, who predeceased him in 1990. They had three children.

         Robert married Kathleen in 1991. On September 11, 2011, Robert signed a durable power of attorney naming Kathleen as his attorney-in-fact and this document was later recorded with the Franklin County Clerk.

         In 2013, Robert was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia. In 2014, Robert was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He remained in his home with hospice care provided by Hospice of the Bluegrass.

         In 2014, pursuant to her authority as attorney-in-fact, Kathleen signed a preneed cremation authorization form contract with Legacy Crematory, LLC for the future cremation of Robert. She also signed a contract for Robert's funeral and related services with Clark Funeral Homes, Inc.

         Robert's and Mary Ann's adult daughter, Jerri Bradshaw, learned that Kathleen planned to have Robert cremated when he died. Jerri contacted Barry Norfleet, who worked for Farmers Bank and Trust Company, the trustee of Robert's trust, for help as she believed such disposition was contrary to Robert's expressed wishes.

         Norfleet, apparently representing himself as Robert's trustee, and Jerri then sought help from Harrod. They told Harrod that the documents Kathleen had signed regarding the disposition of Robert's remains did not reflect Robert's wishes and showed him a handwritten undated note Robert signed which stated: "I'm to be buried above Mary Ann. Harrod Brothers Funeral Home. Jerri, with help from Rob & Mike to decide the plans for my funeral." It is undisputed that this note did not meet the legal requirements to be a will or codicil.

         In response, Harrod emailed Hospice of the Bluegrass about Robert, stating "I do not permit the release of his bodily remains to any funeral facilities for transport for cremation" and instructed that he be contacted after Robert died so that his office could take possession of the body. Kathleen was not informed about this instruction.

         On February 6, 2015, Robert died at home. It is undisputed that he died of natural causes and his death was not a coroner's case.

         Within one hour of Robert's death, Harrod, accompanied by a deputy coroner and a deputy sheriff took possession of Robert's body without Kathleen's permission.

         Kathleen retained an attorney who demanded the return of Robert's body so that she could carry out her prearranged cremation and burial plans. Harrod refused to release Robert's body until he received direction from a court or written documentation of an agreement between Kathleen and Jerri. In the meantime, he embalmed Robert's body without Kathleen's knowledge or permission, claiming this was necessary to preserve the body.

         Through their attorneys, on February 9, 2015, Kathleen and Jerri reached an agreement as to the disposition of Robert's body. They each submitted a written ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.