The family of an Attleboro man whose donated remains were allegedly stolen from the morgue at Harvard Medical School and sold for profit is suing the university, its medical school, and the morgue’s former manager for “acts which were extreme and outrageous and beyond all possible bounds of decency,” court records show.
After Tony Casadonte’s death on Nov. 16, 2017, his siblings followed his wishes and donated his body to Harvard for scientific and medical research.
Linda Casadonte was notified in late June that her brother’s remains were among those “distributed for profit” in a scheme allegedly orchestrated by Cedric Lodge, the medical school’s former morgue manager, according to a civil complaint filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court.
Lodge, of Goffstown, NH, was arrested June 14 and charged with selling body parts taken from cadavers at the morgue and allowing others from outside the university to enter the morgue and choose human remains for purchase. Several others have also been charged in connection with the scheme.
Linda Casadonte, who lived near her brother in Norfolk County and looked to him as “a father figure” since their father’s death when she was 2, filed the 15-page lawsuit with her two sons, and another brother, Russell Casadonte, of Pasco County, Florida.
The suit alleges negligence, breach of duty, infliction of emotional stress, and interference with a corpse, demands a jury trial, and seeks compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, and other relief.
Lodge “improperly and unlawfully handled, abused, and desecrated the remains of Tony Casadonte’s body” and “the knowledge of such shocking facts has caused [the family] tremendous distress,” including “horrific nightmares of Mr. Casadonte’s body being mutilated and dismembered,” the lawsuit said.
The university and the medical school failed in its duty to ensure that Tony Casadonte’s remains were properly “handled and cared for while in Harvard’s custody and control,” the lawsuit said.
Three other families filed a class-action lawsuit in June against the university and its medical school, making similar allegations.
The law firm of Morgan & Morgan filed that suit in Suffolk Superior Court on behalf of the families of Glenn Wilder Sr., Marshall Jolotta, and Joseph Gagne.
The law firm said the suit was also filed on behalf of “all the families affected by this senseless tragedy to seek justice, accountability, and shine a light in the hopes no other family will ever have to endure such horror ever again.”
Spokespeople for the university and the medical school did not respond to requests for comment Thursday night.
In previous Globe stories about lawsuits filed in relation to the morgue, a university spokesperson said “Harvard University and Harvard Medical School do not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.”