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Judge: Windsor family has no right to sue cemetery for moving body

A Windsor family has no basis to sue a local cemetery for digging up a relative's grave and moving the remains to a nearby plot, according to a Sonoma County judge.

Judge Elliot Daum said in a tentative ruling Wednesday that Shiloh Public Cemetery was acting within its right to relocate the body of Enrique Ramirez Alvarez, 21.

The remains were moved about a month after his December 2010 death when the cemetery realized he was in the wrong plot. The family was informed of the mix-up, but said they weren't told he would be exhumed.

Alvarez's mother arrived at the cemetery for a visit to find workers unearthing his coffin. She screamed and fainted, according to her lawsuit.

She was seeking $150,000 in damages.

Daum said the cemetery hadn't breached its legal obligation, in part because the body remained in the same graveyard. Daum allowed attorneys to argue the case Wednesday afternoon and took the matter under submission.

Attorney Tadd Aiona told him the family was forced to endure two burials and "a desecration." He urged the judge to reconsider.

"Common sense tells you . . . they can't do that," he said in court.


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