Firm News

There is More Work to Be Done to Protect Consumers from Body Brokers

By Heidi Culbertson

December 12, 2019  

There is More Work to Be Done to Protect Consumers from Body Brokers

Burg Simpson trial lawyers Michael S. Burg, David K. TeSelle, and Holly B. Kammerer are currently handling several body broker cases, and are pleased to announce they have secured one of the largest jury trial verdicts in Arizona history in a lawsuit filed against the Biological Resource Center (BRC).  In November of 2019, the court ordered the owner of the body donation facility in Arizona to pay $58.5 million to 10 of the 21 plaintiffs.

BRC deceived grieving family members by stating that the bodies of their loved ones, which were intended to be used for scientific purposes, would be treated with dignity and respect. But instead, the organization dismembered the bodies, stored the parts in freezers, and sold them on the black market.

Burg Simpson is proud of the work it has done on behalf of these families, and of its role in justice being served.  “We are very pleased that the jury said this conduct will not be tolerated in a civil society,” said Holly Kammerer, a shareholder with Burg Simpson, and one of the lead trial lawyers for the plaintiffs.

However, the firm acknowledges that there is more work to be done to prevent this tragedy from ever befalling another grieving family. Burg Simpson encourages all states to introduce necessary regulations to ensure people’s bodies are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve after death.

In 2018, Michael Burg, the firm’s founder, worked with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to pass The Human Remains Disposition Sale Businesses Act, which went into effect in August of that year. The legislation forbids a person from owning more than 10 percent indirect interest in a funeral home or crematory while simultaneously owning an interest in what’s termed a “non-transplant tissue bank” — i.e., a body broker. The law, which was the first of its kind in the country, also requires body brokers/tissue banks to register with the state and maintain detailed records.

Burg Simpson shareholder David TeSelle said, “While the passing of this legislation is a step in the right direction, there is more work to be done to protect people from this kind of deceit.”

Since 1977, the law firm of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine has been advocating for the rights of consumers. The firm has represented thousands of individuals and their families and has been a champion for those who have been harmed by the grievous actions and negligence of others.

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