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WEATHER CAUSES GRAVE CONCERN

A family in Louisiana sought damages from the cemetery where their Grandmother had been laid to rest.  While visiting her gravesite two weeks after the funeral, the family was horrified to find that the casket which contained her remains had risen out of the ground and was partially visible!  The family was seeking damages for the trauma caused by seeing the casket of the recently deceased, and for negligence in the handling the burial process.  The owners of the cemetery were sympathetic and presented what they considered to be a fair settlement to the family.  This was turned down.  A higher amount was then offered, but again, this was turned down.  With the family showing no signs of wanting to settle, the attorney for the cemetery owners began to put together a defense.

The attorney contacted CompuWeather. The meteorologist assigned to the case analyzed the weather for the two week period starting with the day of the funeral and up until the day the family arrived at the cemetery and made the discovery.  In the three days before the family made their visit to the site, it had rained – a tremendous amount of rain, in fact.  Using Doppler radar imagery, the meteorologist was able to pin-point the exact amount of rain which had fallen at the cemetery.  Over 22 inches of rain had come down in less than 60 hours causing the ground to become super-saturated.  An historical comparison showed that a rainfall of this magnitude was a once-in-a-150 year occurrence.  A very unusual amount of rain for that short a period of time.  This more than likely saturated the ground underneath the coffin to a point where it was lifted towards the surface, and out of the ground.

The attorney presented this information to the family, adding that this type of occurrence was not something that the cemetery owners could have reasonably expected to occur, and thus, were not liable for.  Rather than taking the matter all the way to trial, the cemetery owners made another offer to settle.  This time, in light of the meteorological explanation provided by CompuWeather, the offer was accepted and the matter was put to rest.