American Airlines Loses Corpse

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.

For the full story, click here.

36 thoughts on “American Airlines Loses Corpse”

  1. rafflaw
    1, September 10, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Ouch! That joke is a little yukky! No wonder that these airlines are losing money hand over fist.

    lol, seriously though besides the high cost of fuel the main reason the airlines are losing money is TSA.

    Who the hell wants to go through that sh$t everytime you want to take a quick hop to Vegas for some fun?


    Theres nothing fun about flying anymore. so the only people doing it now are the ones who have to.

  2. So, if the corpus delecti (so to speak) crashed en route to Corpus Christi, would it be referred to as ‘corpus crispy?’

    And if a Latin speaking priest arrived on scene, would he inform the airline:

    Habeas corpus ad subjiciendum — “you should have the body for submitting?”

    Jack Handy wants to know.

  3. rafflaw
    1, September 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    I was wondering if Mr. Olaya was charged for this baggage?

    Not if they’re deadheading.

  4. Wow,
    I go away for a few days for a business seminar and CMM has turned over a new leaf and seems to be auditioning for Second City or Last Comic Standing! Congrats. I really enjoyed the “abra cadaver” one. I was wondering if Mr. Olaya was charged for this baggage?

  5. Yea, sorry getplanning, Jill, got a little carried away there.


    However that was never my ‘plot’.

  6. getplaning,

    I’m afraid you’re correct about the airline’s take on this. I’m sorry about what happened with your mom.

    To others:

    DO NOT attempt a look into tissue banks unless you’re thinking of a financial investment.

  7. …tap tap.. this thing on?

    ๐Ÿ˜€ anyway the Captain says, “yea, I just flew this body in from Miami and boy are my arms tired“…

  8. ๐Ÿ˜

    However the FAA has warned the airlines not to “re-hearse” this incident again.

  9. Of course the Airlines simply responded by insisting this case proves that people are dying to get on their planes.

  10. Airlines are in the business of moving people and cargo, and they don’t get too emotionally involved in their work. It’s just business. My mother died in Texas and I took her casket to Maryland to bury her alongside her family. I watched the handlers treat the casket like it was a box of scrap metal. Really pissed me off. Can’t remember which airline it was, but it was one of the majors.

  11. ๐Ÿ˜

    It wouldn’t have been so bad if when reporting to Mr Olaya that his wifes body was missing, the officials from American Airlines hadn’t used the term, “Abra Cadaver”.

  12. CroMM,

    Good one! And it’s nice to know when others see things differently than you do!!


    P.S. Nowdays, transporting bodies is just a lost art.

  13. Well, I don’t notice the difference you’re referring to Jill, but I’ll agree this is a “dead” story.


  14. Hello JT,

    The nature and number of posts you have put on the blog has changed recently. I have always enjoyed your entries as well as the posts of others. This is an interesting blog. I don’t know the reason for the changes. I’m not trying to pry into your personal life. It’s just that the changes are quite noticeable. I hope all is well. I thank you for having provided a place where people actually discuss issues.


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