The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office’s failure to inform a Staten Island couple that the office had removed and retained their late son’s brain violated the couple’s right of sepulcher, Brooklyn’s New York Appellate Division, 2nd Department has ruled.

“[W]hile the medical examiner has the statutory authority…to remove and retain bodily organs for further examination and testing in connection therewith, he or she also has the mandated obligation…to turn over the decedent’s remains to the next of kin for preservation and proper burial once the legitimate purposes for the retention of those remains have been fulfilled,” Justice William F. Mastro wrote for a unanimous panel in Shipley v. City of New York, 2009-03226.

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