JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was 2006, and Guy Rubin's client, 81-year-old Lovie Gardener, lost her mother. Funeral arrangements had been made years prior to her death. Gardener's mom was to be laid to rest in the family mausoleum at Restlawn Memorial Park.
Rubin said, "As she's grieving and as they're ready for the ceremony for her mom to be placed in the vault, in the mausoleum, they informed her the permanent mausoleum hasn't even been built."
Rubin says his client was told her mother would be put in a temporary, common mausoleum until her family's was finished. "So they said to her, we'll put your mom in a borrowed crypt just like Jesus was."
Ms. Gardener agreed. But years passed, and still, no mausoleum. Fed up, she decided to sue.
Rubin said, "They finally told us right before the trial last week, we can't positively identify where she is. And we've checked the caskets and the caskets aren't marked like they're supposed to be with tags, like dog tags."
With the body lost, and the case in court, a jury held the cemetery responsible, awarding Ms. Gardener more than $500,000. Now, Rubin says the next move is to have the cemetery start some forensic testing to find Ms. Gardener's mom, so she can finally rest in peace.
"Maybe we'll need court orders to open some caskets and finally bring this to a closure," said Rubin.
Ms. Gardener sued for breach of contract, as well as pain and suffering or mental anguish. It took a jury only 15 minutes to side with her. She was awarded $660,000.
Action News did try to contact Restlawn for comment. Our calls have not been returned.