PHOENIX – A suburban Phoenix family is suing after their father's body slipped from a shattered casket when it was dropped into a grave during a burial ceremony.
Lawsuits filed by the wife, children and two dozen family members of 50-year-old Robert Gowdy Sr. claim a strap on a casket-lowering device snapped as family was gathered around a grave last year, dropping Gowdy's coffin and breaking it open.
The lawsuit against the city of Mesa and its workers, the funeral home, casket company and device-maker says Gowdy's body had to be pulled from the grave by two family members after cemetery workers ran away.
A city lawyer blamed the casket's sharp edges for breaking the strap. A call seeking comment from the funeral director wasn't immediately returned on Friday.