Angiolillo v. Buckmiller – Case Brief Summary (Connecticut)

In Angiolillo v. Buckmiller (2007) 102 Conn.App. 697 [927 A.2d 312], where the defendant funeral home negligently buried the decedent's cremated remains in an eight-inch by eight-inch hole at the head of his mother's cemetery plot without the permission of the plaintiffs, the decedent's nephew and his wife, who owned the mother's plot and three adjacent plots.

Rejecting the plaintiffs' claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, the Angiolillo court noted the funeral home followed the wishes of the decedent's widow, and mistakenly believed it had received permission from the appropriate family members for the burial.

The court concluded: "It was not foreseeable that the plaintiff would have such a strong objection to his uncle's cremains being buried there. Additionally, '[a]n individual making an emotional distress claim must show that a reasonable person would have suffered emotional distress ... that ... might result in illness or bodily harm ... .' ...

In this case, the plaintiffs were not able to prove that a reasonable person would have reacted as they did. The burial of the cremains of the decedent did not interfere with the two grave sites reserved for the plaintiffs, and as soon as the ... defendants learned of the plaintiffs' objection, the cremains were removed and buried in another portion of the cemetery." (927 A.2d at p. 321.)