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Category: Legal
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Experience:  Civil; Family; HOA; Landlord/Tenant; Real Estate; Probate; Insurance; Immigration; Wills & Trusts
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a small rural church took out 2 to 3 rows of grave sites to

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a small rural church took out 2 to 3 rows of grave sites to expand their parking lot, thereby paving over both my great grandparent's grave site and my great aunt's grave. My great grandfather was a civil war veteran. My what recourse do we have?

LADYLAWYER : Hello there! Are any of your other relatives closer in line to the relatives that had their graves paved over? I am trying to see who would have the right to file any claim here.

My mother is a direct line. Her cousins were members of the church, years ago, but I think she is the closest direct relative still alive. She first noticed the problem and talked to the priest to get the map.

LADYLAWYER : Okay, thank you. In that case, she, as the closest living relative, would have a claim against the church for Negligence, Intentional infliction of emotional distress, Breach of contract, Fraud and Misrepresentation.
LADYLAWYER : She would need to hire a civil litigator who would first write a letter to the church making any and all demands. If the church did not comply, then the next step would be to sue.

are their criminal charges and who would be contacted, fed, state? does she sue the church or the state?

LADYLAWYER : The church and the Board (if there is one), or any administrators, would be the ones to be sued.

what type of attorney handles these cases?

LADYLAWYER : A civil litigator would handle this.
LADYLAWYER : You may find ones in your area here:

is this a serious offense that is rare?

LADYLAWYER : Criminal charges may be appropriate if state or local laws were broken, but more likely, it is going to be a civil case.
LADYLAWYER : This is pretty rare.
LADYLAWYER : your other option is to take this to the media and have them run a public interest story.
LADYLAWYER : If your sole goal is to get them to take some sort of action (and not for compensation for their negligence) then the media route may be faster and certainly would be cheaper.
LADYLAWYER : The church would end up having to pay for your legal fees if your mom won, but your mom would have to pay the attorney up front.

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX shocked that it happened. what category would these laws fall under? I thought maybe this would be a good story for this week end. As a civil war vet, does the fed govt get involved?

LADYLAWYER : The federal government certainly could, yes, as veterans are protected u der the War Memorial Protection Act. You may also want to contact your local veteran's affairs office about this. They may work to get it taken care of for you.
LADYLAWYER : As far as the category, this would basically be mishandling of remains and/or desecration of graves.
LADYLAWYER : They are what are called "torts."

thank you- each state would have different laws, are the church and state separated in this issue?

LADYLAWYER : yes, they would have different laws, different caps on damages, etc. No, there would be no separation of church and state issues here.
LADYLAWYER : This is definitely shocking, you're right.
LADYLAWYER : Any time someone wants to do something like this, they need to get the next closest relative's permission to exhume and move the body. They cannot just pave over a grave!

Do i only have a certain time to ask you questions? i clicked on a free trial for a week, is this session part of the free trial? can I ask you about another legal issue? will our chat be saved on this website?

LADYLAWYER : You may ask as many questions on this site as you want to for a full week. It is part of your free trial. Your questions and the experts' answers will be saved. The site does ask that you open a new question thread though if the subject matter is unrelated.
LADYLAWYER : i am happy to help you on your other question if you do that.
LADYLAWYER : You can ask your next question by using the box on my page here:
LADYLAWYER : If you would be so kind to leave me a service rating before you leave this page, I would appreciate it! That's free to do too. :)

Ok - is there a specific legal area besides just civil litigation that would handle a cemetery problem?

LADYLAWYER : There *may* be a civil litigator out there who deals with funeral home litigation, but this would be rare and likely hard to find. Any civil trial attorney can handle this.

thanks! i will ask the next question on the link.

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