Family Files $3 Million Lawsuit Over Loved One's Misplaced Body

Family alleges the hospital and medical examiner's office failed to notify them of the death for 10 days

Friday, Jun 29, 2012  |  Updated 2:57 PM CDT
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Family Files Lawsuit Against Cook County Morgue

Family members of Brian K. Warren allege they called the morgue over a 10-day period looking for his body.

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Family members of a man whose body was allegedly lost at the Cook County Medical Examiner's office filed a lawsuit against the county and hospital where he died.

Relatives of Brian K. Warren allege the medical examiner's office repeatedly told them over a 10-day period the body was not in their morgue when it was, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report. The family is seeking $3 million in punitive damages in addition to compensation, according to the Sun-Times.

Warren's family claims Saint Bernard Hospital failed to notify them of his death on Dec. 29, 2011, one day after he went missing, the report said. The family claims Warren had identification on him, including contact information for his next of kin, that was overlooked by the hospital and the medical examiner's office, according to the report.

Calls to the medical examiner's office during the 10-day period led the family to file a missing person's report with police and continue their search.

The family filed suit after finding evidence his body was one of many misplaced and mishandled by the examiner's office, the report said.

Last week, the county’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Jones abruptly resigned. It is only one part of a massive shakeup in the office. Chief administrator Kimberly Jackson has been fired and will be replaced by Darryl Jackson (no relation), who Preckwinkle hailed as bringing a raft of administrative expertise to an office sorely in need for organization and reform

Horror stories from the morgue began circulating in January when photos were leaked depicting hundreds of bodies stacked in coolers and even hallways. Several families stepped forward saying they had been unable to locate the remains of their loved ones, only to learn they had been in the morgue for weeks.

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