A woman who alleges that her father's remains were mishandled is suing a New Hampshire crematorium and Massachusetts funeral homes in the first federal complaint filed since the crematorium was shut down by authorities in February.
The lawsuit Lorraine Hunt of Quincy filed in US District Court yesterday is similar to recent complaints in state courts that seek certification as class-action complaints on behalf of customers of funeral homes that contracted with the crematorium.
Hunt's complaint alleges that Bayview Crematory ''commingled bodies while they were cremated, failed to keep accurate records of the bodies" and either failed to return remains to families or returned them in urns mixed with the ashes from other bodies.
A lawyer for the crematorium, Gerard LaFlamme Jr., did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Hunt alleges that the remains of her father, Robert Lowe Cashman, were mishandled in April 2004 after they were entrusted to a Quincy funeral home -- Hamel, Wickens & Troupe -- and taken to the crematorium in Seabrook.
John Boyle, a lawyer for the Quincy funeral home, said there is no evidence that it or other funeral homes did anything wrong or knew about problems in handling remains at Bayview.
The lawsuit seeks damages for negligence, intentional emotional distress, and other alleged breaches of trust.
In addition to Bayview and the Quincy funeral home, defendants include Bayview's owners, seven other Massachusetts funeral homes, and three organizations that set industry standards on handling human remains.
The complaint says the funeral homes ''turned a willful blind eye" to the problems at Bayview and were ''motivated by greed" to use its services even though it was known to be ''a shoddy operator."
The Bayview Crematory was shut down after authorities executing a warrant for financial records found a decomposing body in a broken refrigeration unit, two bodies in the same oven, and ashes without identification. Bayview had never registered with the state, as required by law, and was never inspected by the state.
Most records concerning the crematorium's operations remain in the hands of the Rockingham county attorney's office and are sealed pending the outcome of an investigation.
The probe led to charges against two assistant medical examiners alleging that they took money from crematoriums without overseeing the process.