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March 8, 2013

Jury rules in former funeral home director’s favor

Civil suit completion means Rick Pyke won’t have to pay mother money

JEFFERSONVILLE — A jury awarded no financial compensation at the end of a civil suit earlier this week to a mother who sued a funeral service over the handling of her 5-year-old daughter’s ashes.

Regina Marie Layton, of Jeffersonville, filed a complaint in October 2009 against Richard Pyke, the former funeral director of Kentuckiana Cremation Center and two funeral homes in Henryville and New Albany.

The lawsuit involved the emotional distress and perceived negligence of Pyke’s handling of Layton’s daughter’s ashes following her loss to a battle with brain cancer. The verdict was delivered Tuesday in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1.

Layton was represented by Jeffersonville attorney David Mosley and Pyke was represented by Richard Mullineaux, of New Albany.

 

THE DETAILS

Prior to the child’s death, Pyke had met with Layton, according to the complaint, at which time it was agreed the body would be cremated. When the child died, Pyke retrieved the remains and provided a funeral service days later.

The funeral was held June 25, 2009, and the complaint reveals there was no communication between Pyke and Layton for some time, and July 6 of that year, Layton began making attempts to reach Pyke to obtain her daughter’s ashes, urn and belongings.

On July 9, Layton reached Pyke on his cellular phone and he told her that he would deliver the urn and ashes to her home that evening, but he failed to do so, according to the complaint. From July 10 to July 17, according to the document, Layton made numerous phone calls to contact Pyke to obtain her daughter’s urn and ashes.

“Throughout the week, Richard D. Pyke failed to communicate with her or comply with her requests for the remains, urn and effects to be provided her,” the complaint reads.

On July 17, a person associated with Pyke came to the Layton’s home “ ... carrying the urn and the remains of [Layton’s daughter] upside down,” according to the complaint. The complaint also includes that the urn was leaking the child’s ashes.

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