Firm-Wide

Firm-Wide blog

Inside Edition Interviews Attorney Michael Burg Regarding the Gruesome “Body Parts” Case

By Burg Simpson
March 18, 2019
3 min read

Attorney Michael Burg, of Denver-based law firm Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, is representing the victims’ family members in a lawsuit against Gore and Biological Resource Center of Arizona, in what is being referred to as the “Body Parts Case.” Mr. Burg told Inside Edition in a recent interview that the families involved in the case never realized that the remains of their deceased loved ones’ bodies would be butchered and sold off for thousands of dollars after they signed the center’s consent forms that the remains would be used for research.

Burg Simpson filed a case on behalf of eight plaintiffs against defendant, Biological Resource Center, Inc., and other defendant companies and individuals.  The defendants represented that bodily remains donated to them and their entities would be used for scientific and medical education and research.  However, based on both state and federal investigations, the donated bodily remains were actually dismembered, sold for profit, mishandled, and improperly disposed of on the black market.

The lawsuit alleges that since 2007, the decedents and their families were fraudulently induced by the defendants to donate bodily remains based on representations that the remains would be used solely for medical or scientific research.  Defendants represented that the remains would be treated with dignity and respect, and would not be dismembered or sold for profit. The complaint alleges that although these defendants held themselves out to be dedicated to the collection and study of human donor bodies solely for medical and scientific purposes, they instead engaged in an illegal enterprise of collecting, harvesting, and trafficking whole human bodies and body parts for profit. The lawsuit further alleges that beginning in 2015, the donor families discovered that:

  • Their deceased family members were dismembered and their body parts or whole bodies were sold for profit;
  • The body parts of family members were shipped overseas for profit to unknown entities;
  • The whole bodies and body parts of their family members were not used for scientific, medical, or educational purposes;
  • The donor body parts were being stored for years by the defendants without being donated to medicine or science;
  • The whole bodies and body parts of their family members were not stored, treated or disposed of with dignity or respect; and
  • The defendants harvested bodies and body parts fraudulently and contrary to the express will of the decedents and/or their families.

This lawsuit came on the heels of a criminal investigation initiated by FBI and state authorities.  The investigation was in connection with the defendants’ illegal conduct, involving the transport of human body parts across state and international borders for profit, the mishandling of bodily remains, health violations, and misrepresentation to victims, including the families of the plaintiffs.  The criminal investigation has received widespread media attention in Arizona and across the nation. Stephen Gore, a defendant in the lawsuit and the owner of Biological Resource Center in Arizona, recently pled guilty to a class three felony in connection with the defendants’ fraudulent and illegal activity.

“It’s really body snatching without them having to dig up the graves,” Burg told Inside Edition. “They lied to them.”

There are no federal laws regulating the sale of body parts for research or education, and few state laws apply either. Experts say donations are important and save lives but suggest families ask specific questions to make sure they are comfortable with how their loved ones’ bodies will be used.

For more info regarding the Inside Edition segment: click here:

 

Free case evaluation form