Tort law has long treated the mishandling of a corpse harshly due to the obvious emotional distress caused by such negligence. When Miguel Olaya’s wife of 26 years died of cancer, he probably thought the worst was over. That is before he gave her body to American Airlines to ship to Ecuador. The airline allegedly lost his wife Teresa for four days and could not tell him where she was.
During the ordeal, all Olaya could say to a reporter was “Que estamos sufriendo: “We are suffering.” His family says that American Airlines gave them different accounts, including saying that she was in Miami and then Guatamala. The airline did not refrigerate the body so, when it arrived, it was in particularly bad shape, according to his lawyers.
He has now filed a lawsuit for the alleged negligence in April.
It appears that the airline mistakenly sent the body to Guatemala instead Guayaquil.
The negligence home is also being sued, though it claims that the error have been confirmed as a mistake by the airline in punching in the airport code.
These cases are more likely to result in punitive damages and, as a common carrier, American is subject to liability for slight negligence.
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