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Suit: Man Excluded From Mom’s Final Arrangements

December 26, 2017

WILKES-BARRE — A Kingston man has filed suit alleging he has no idea where his mother’s remains are located after a funeral home and the executor for her estate made final arrangements without his knowledge.

Paul Quigley alleges in the complaint filed Thursday that Kingston-based funeral home Hugh B. Hughes & Son, Inc., as well as estate executor Kathleen Jesso, “abhorrently and improperly usurped” his right to handle his mother’s remains. As of the filing, Quigley still does not know what happened to the remains of his mother, who died Dec. 18, 2016.

According to the complaint filed by the Kutzer Law Firm and Borland & Borland, Quigley discovered the body of his mother, Joan L. Quigley, and then found a 2006 will in which his mother named Jesso as executor — noting she had already purchased a cemetery plot in Forty Fort.

Paul Quigley told Jesso about the will, and she said she was surprised it was still effective, the complaint says. Through an attorney, Jesso informed Paul Quigley that she would not relinquish her duty as executrix, nor her rights as beneficiary to the estate, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges that in a subsequent phone call, funeral director Michael Harrison failed to ask Paul Quigley about his wishes for his mother’s remains. When Harrison called Paul Quigley two days later to get information for the death certificate, Paul Quigley learned she had already been cremated at Jesso’s request, the complaint says.

According to the lawsuit, to Paul Quigley’s knowledge, nobody prepared an obituary for his mother, nor were any funeral services held.

Paul Quigley should have had “sole legal authority” to handle the remains, but instead has been left “distraught and aggrieved” by the actions of the defendants, the lawsuit alleges.

The complaint alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeks unspecified damages.

Harrison did not immediately return a message seeking comment.