Negligence, misconduct suit against crematory must be heard in Delaware County, attorney says

By Nicholas Malfitano | Aug 14, 2015

Joseph F. Kampherstein III  

PHILADELPHIA – Attorneys for a Pennsylvania crematory have argued that a suit targeting it for negligence and reckless misconduct must be heard in the county where the facility is based, in addition to striking all references to that same reckless misconduct.

Joseph F. Kampherstein III filed preliminary objections in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on June 26 centered on improper venue, arguing the lawsuit filed by Philadelphia resident Philip Stevenson against Delaware County Crematory in Landsdowne and Clarence Johnson Jr. Funeral Home in Yeadon needs to be heard in Delaware County, pursuant to Pennsylvania state law.

The attorney also stated the crematory does not own property or do business in Philadelphia County.

Further, Kampherstein seeks the complete dismissal of the complaint and dismissal of all references to “recklessness, reckless indifference, willful misconduct, wanton misconduct and intentional misconduct” with prejudice.

A hearing in this matter was scheduled for Thursday in the Court chambers at Philadelphia City Hall.

Stevenson filed his lawsuit in February, alleging improper conduct on the part of the crematory in handling final arrangements for his mother, Linda Diane Fuller-Mason. Fuller-Mason passed away on Dec. 25 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, while in the care of Good Shepherd Hospice.

Stevenson & Clarence Johnson Jr. Funeral Home agreed on arrangements to cremate Fuller-Mason’s body on Dec. 27. After the cremation took place, the suit says Fuller-Mason’s remains were presented to Philip Stevenson and labeled, “Ms. Linda Diane Fuller-Mason, a 61 year-old black female," and given the identification number of #05750.

However, according to the lawsuit, it was later determined the remains given to Stevenson were those of another individual, and not those of Fuller-Mason. A different and ostensibly correct set of remains was given to Stevenson on Jan. 20, and given the identification number of #05748.

Stevenson claimed to suffer depression, nightmares, stress, and anxiety requiring psychological treatment, due to the defendants’ collective negligence.

In his lawsuit, Stevenson levied claims of breach of contract, negligence, negligence per se, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, willful, wanton and reckless misconduct, violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) and unjust enrichment. 

The plaintiff is seeking judgment in excess of $50,000 from all defendants.

The plaintiff is represented by Michael T. Van Der Veen and Francis J. O’Neill, Jr., of the Law Offices of Michael T. Van Der Veen, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Dennis Chow & Joseph R. Fowler of Fowler Hirtzel McNulty & Spaulding and Walter H. Swayze III & Kampherstein III of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mah, also all in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150203321

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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