A blog post by attorney David H. Charlip, B.C.S., Esq.
Cedric Lodge, 55, Harvard Medical School’s morgue manager and his wife, Denise Lodge, 63 stand accused of stealing and selling human body parts from donated cadavers according to a federal indictment filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The scheme is alleged to be part of a “nationwide network” of people buying and selling human remains that came from Harvard and an Arkansas mortuary and is said to have been ongoing since 2018.
Besides being unfathomable, this shocking and horrifying news is undoubtedly severely distressing to those family members who generously and selflessly volunteered to allow their loved one’s remains to be used to educate medical professionals and advance the interests of science and medical care. Historically, such scandals have resulted in widespread emotional distress by the survivors of such abusive and egregious behavior.
Charlip Law Group, LC has brought mass and class actions against institutional actors and others who in the past have been guilty of such horrifying actions. See:
In Massachusetts, there also is precedent for holding the President and Fellows of Harvard College liable for negligent and/or reckless infliction of emotional distress. The case of Lanier v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 490 Mass. 37, 191 N.E.3d 1063 (2022) the Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court dismissing the plaintiff’s claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress and affirmed the dismissal of her other claims, holding that the alleged facts, taken as true, plausibly supported claims for negligent and reckless infliction of emotional distress. In Lanier, the plaintiff alleged, “emotional distress that produced physical symptoms of insomnia and nausea.” The Court determined that on those allegations “[a] factfinder could determine both that this distress was the actual and foreseeable consequence of Harvard’s conduct toward the plaintiff and that her distress was a reasonable reaction to that conduct. Taken together, then, Lanier’s various factual allegations are sufficient to “raise a right to relief” on her claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress “above the speculative level.” Dunn v. Genzyme Corp., 486 Mass. 713, 721 (2021), quoting Iannacchino v. Ford Motor Co., 451 Mass. 623, 636 (2008).”
Nevertheless, such emotional distress claims are very fact intense and complicated as far as proof of involvement regarding specific cadavers as well as associated emotional distress damages and procedural issues attendant upon bringing any class or mass action claims. Potential plaintiffs are well advised to only hire experienced counsel with a significant track record of bring class and mass-oriented body parts emotional distress claims in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. David Charlip and Charlip Law Group, LC has exactly that experience and is actively involved in investigating potential claims arising from this recent incident at Harvard College.
If you or a family member believe that a loved one whose remains were donated to Harvard College for medical research purposes was potentially sold off body part by body part for illicit and immoral profits, please feel free to contact us at Charlip Law Group, LC at (305) 354-9313 or visit our website at: www.charliplawgroup.com and send us an inquiry.
|Legal Options for Families of Loved Ones Whose Donated Bodies Were Allegedly Illegally Sold by Harvard||Description|
|Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress||Pursue claims for emotional distress caused by alleged illegal sale of donated bodies, requiring proof of negligence and reasonable reaction to the conduct.|
|Reckless Infliction of Emotional Distress||Pursue claims for emotional distress caused by alleged illegal sale of donated bodies, requiring proof of reckless behavior and reasonable reaction to the conduct.|
|Class or Mass Action Claims||Join multiple plaintiffs in legal action against Harvard, but face procedural challenges that require experienced legal counsel.|
|Consultation with Mortuary Litigation Attorney||Seek guidance from experienced attorney specialized in emotional distress claims related to cadavers and body parts theft.|
|Documenting Evidence||Gather and preserve evidence such as communication records, witness testimonies, and relevant documentation.|