A Suffolk County, New York State Supreme Court Justice has denied the petition of a widow to have her late husband’s body exhumed so that it might be cremated in accordance with what she claimed to have been his last wishes.
Rosalie Giannini had been married to her husband Michael for less than two years when he died suddenly of a heart attack in December 2004. Her petition alleged that he had stated that he did not wish to be buried because he did not want his children “crying and mourning” at his grave. She filed her application after claiming that she had suffered extreme grief and anguish after disregarding her husband’s wishes and going along with her brother-in-law’s plans to have her husband buried in a family plot.
In denying the petition, Justice William Whelan opined that New York’s public policy provides that the “quiet of the grave, the repose of the dead are not lightly to be disturbed. Good and substantial reason must be shown before disinterment is to be sanctioned.” Further commenting on the facts of the case, the court found that the widow and her late husband’s family were alienated from each other and that “a court in equity will not lend its aid in a family squabble to disturb the dead.” The case is reported in the New York Law Journal on March 28, 2006. Its initial citation is Giannini v. Giannini 05-26053. Supreme Court , Justice Whelan.