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Family Of Woman Buried Among the Homeless and Destitute Suing Monroe County

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Rochester: Family Of Woman Buried Among the Homeless and Destitute Suing Monroe County
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A Rochester family has filed a lawsuit against Monroe County, Strong Memorial Hospital, and others after their loved one was buried in an indigent grave without their knowledge.

In January 2012, Sally Green was laid to rest at Oatka Cemetery, but not in the front of the cemetery with well-maintained plots.

She was buried in the south annex, where many of Monroe County's homeless and poor are buried at the county's expense.

More than a year later, Green's surviving relatives are suing the county, its public administrator, and the hospital for emotional distress.

Family attorney Ron Wright declined to comment on camera. He did issue a statement that said, in part: "burying the body of someone's mother or sister in a cardboard box without attempting to contact the family and then digging the body up 49 days later to be reburied cannot be rectified with a simple apology. Inexcusable omissions and failures led to Sally Green's burial in Oatka Cemetery. A year later, there are still no safeguards in place to ensure these tragic events will not occur again."

Green's family later reburied her remains at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Her children say they learned of their mother's death three weeks after she passed.

Sally was taken to Strong on January 19, 2012, after collapsing at the Cadillac Hotel in downtown Rochester. She died about nine hours later.

A hospital spokesperson said every attempt was made to locate family members. In a statement, the hospital says "in the weeks following the burial of Sally Green, we retraced the steps taken by staff to contact Ms. Green's family members. Based on that review, we're confident that our staff made an appropriate effort to locate the family before and even after Ms. Green's death, given the limitations of the information available to them. Therefore we will defend this lawsuit."

County spokesman Justin Feasel and Frank Iacovangelo, the county's public administrator, both declined to comment on ongoing legal matters. Iacovangelo's law firm, Gallo and Iacovangelo, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and the Monroe County Medical Examiner are also named in the suit.

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