Widow sues funeral home

For allegedly being deprived of chance to view husband’s body a final time before its cremation

The widow of a Chinese farmer who was allegedly murdered in As Lito last year is suing a funeral parlor for allegedly depriving her a final chance to see his body before its cremation in Guam.

Maria Lourdes Olopai Ding is suing Francisco C. Cabrera, owner of Cabrera’s Funeral Service, for negligence, breach of contract, reckless infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

Ding, through counsel Joseph E. Horey, wants Cabrera held liable for an undetermined amount of damages, litigation costs, and attorney’s fees.

Saipan Tribune tried but failed yesterday to get comments from Cabrera.

According to the complaint, Liqian Ding was murdered by unknown assailants outside their house in As Lito on July 16, 2016.

After Liqian Ding’s death, his son and daughter came to Saipan from China and agreed that his ashes would be returned to his ancestral home in China.

Since there is no crematorium on Saipan, it was necessary to ship the body to Guam for cremation.

Horey said that Maria Lourdes Ding arranged with Cabrera for funeral and cremation services for the body.

The lawyer said the parties agreed that the body would be transported from the funeral home to the airport at 9am on July 22, 2016.

Horey said the parties agreed that Maria Lourdes Ding would travel to Guam at the 1:30pm flight on July 22, 2016. Horey said this detail was significant and material to Maria Lourdes Ding because it would allow her to arrive in Guam prior to the cremation, and have a last viewing of the body at the crematorium, together with her four children in Guam.

The lawyer said Maria Lourdes Ding specifically confirmed with Cabrera that there would be an opportunity for viewing the body at the crematorium in Guam prior to cremation.

Horey said that Maria Lourdes Ding arrived at the funeral home between 8am and 8:30am on July 22, intending to accompany the body at the airport at 9am as agreed.

Horey said no one was present at the funeral home when Maria Lourdes Ding arrived there, but shortly afterward, an employee of Cabrera’s Funeral Service informed her that the body had already been taken to the airport.

Maria Lourdes Ding later went to the airport that day to check in for the 1:30pm flight to Guam, but airline personnel advised that there was no reservation for her.

Horey said Maria Lourdes Ding called Cabrera, who then booked a reservation for her on a 9:50pm flight that day. Maria Lourdes Ding was able to secure a seat on the 6:05pm flight that day.

Upon arrival in Guam, Maria Lourdes Ding proceeded directly to the crematorium, but it was already closed. The next morning, she received a call from the crematorium advising her that the body had already been cremated and that she should pick up the ashes at 10am.

As a consequence, Maria Lourdes Ding “suffered emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of sleep, chills, shaking, and other damages,” Horey said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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