A federal appeals court Thursday rejected arguments by Florida restaurants and a furniture retailer that insurance policies should have covered losses stemming from shutdowns early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bereaved Son Says A Florida Funeral Group Illegally Relocated Mom’s Body, Alleged Extortion Followed

A federal appeals court Thursday rejected arguments by Florida restaurants and a furniture retailer that insurance policies should have covered losses stemming from shutdowns early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – In a lawsuit filed against Northstar Funeral Services LLC, a bereaved son complains that his elderly mother’s deceased body was illegally transported from Tampa to Miami for cremation.

He also complains that his treatment upon complaining was met with an attempt to extort money.

In Richard Kleinberger vs. Northstar Funeral Services LLC, Evelyn Orsi, 95, passed away in 2021 in Tampa, Florida, her city of residence. In 2000, she pre-paid for a cremation service while residing in Miami, contracting her need for service with Northstar’s Levitt Weinstein Memorial Chapels.

When she relocated, she allegedly notified Northstar Funeral Services of her move out of the area.

The lawsuit states, “The Defendant was on notice and had contact information for the next of kin. After her passing, without notice or contact with the next of kin, with no authorization at all, Defendant removed the body of EVELYN ORSI from its location in Tampa and transported it to Miami, where she no longer lived and where there were no family members located. After illegally removing the body of Ms. Orsi, the Funeral Director, the Defendant’s employee, began to demand, extort, a large transportation fee for the removal of the body done by Defendant without authorization. Defendant then began to attempt to upsell more services and tell Ms. Orsi’s family that they would need to come to Miami if they wanted to see the body.”

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The lawsuit continues its grievance, indicating Ms. Orsi’s body was held unlawfully for two days, until a threat of legal action was expressed.

It is not known if Mr. Kleinberg was ever able to view his mother’s body.

Shane Lacey, Location Manager in Tampa for Northstar’s Boza and Roel Funeral Home spoke briefly with The Free Press. Boza and Roel published Ms. Orsi’s obituary.

When asked if Mr. Kleinberg was ever able to see his mother before her cremation, Mr. Lacey replied, “We are engaged with this family and we hope to resolve soon, and we always respect the privacy of our client families. We service families in accordance with our high standards given and all circumstances in all respects in accordance with all regulations which appropriately govern the services we provide to our community, and I really cannot give further comment.”

Kleinberg filed two Counts against Northstar, including “Tortious Interference with a Dead Body” and “Tort of Outrage.”

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The lawsuit concludes that the “Defendant’s conduct is outrageous in that it goes beyond all bounds of decency in a civilized society, is regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

Paul B. Fulmer is Kleinberg’s attorney. He is affiliated with Morgan and Morgan Tampa. Mr. Fulmer did not respond to an inquiry.

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