Cryonics firm sues Burlington family

Cryonics firm sues Burlington family

Joined: March 3rd, 2005, 2:52 am

June 6th, 2009, 7:58 pm #1

WTF? Also, another example about the dangers hostile relatives pose to cryonicists:

http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/Cryonics-060609

Cryonics firm sues Burlington family
By JOHN MANGALONZO

jmangalonzo@thehawkeye.com

Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based non-profit corporation, wants local courts to allow it to disinter a Burlington man so he can be preserved in a cryonic process.

Foundation attorneys said Orville Martin Richardson, who died in February at 81, wanted to donate his remains "not only in the hope of potential revival, but also to prove and perfect the process" of cryonic suspension.

Cryonics is the preservation of human remains -- and sometimes animals -- at very low temperature in the hope that future science can restore them to life, youth and health.

Richardson, according to the lawsuit paid Alcor more than $50,000 in 2004 for a membership and included money in his will. He is buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery.

"I further direct that, when and where possible, such delivery shall take place immediately after my legal death, without embalming or autopsy," Richardson wrote.

He also gave Alcor full custody on his remains "by whatever legal means may be available for the purposes of placing them into cryonic suspension."

Still, Alcor attorneys contend the man's brother, David Richardson of Ohio and his sister Darlene Broeker of West Burlington -- co-admnistrators of the estate -- denied the foundation's request for their brother's remains. They also didn't let Alcor know their brother died until months after he was buried.

David Richardson and Darlene Broeker said in court papers that their brother discussed donating his brain or entire head for cryonic suspension. They said Orville Richardson wanted his head severed and frozen after he died.

The siblings apparently tried to talk their brother out of the idea and "emphatically told him they would have nothing to do with his plan."

Attorneys for the pair said the brother and sister did not see the contract and their late brother never told them of actually making such arrangements. Further, they contend Orville Richardson, on several occasions, failed to meet with the agreement he had with Alcor, which constitutes cancellation of the agreement.

"All evidence indicates that after Orville (Richardson) signed the agreement and wrote his check, he did nothing to honor the agreement or to make sure that his head would be cut off and frozen after his death," attorneys for the siblings said in court papers asking a judge to deny Alcor's request.

They added David Richardson and Darlene Broeker's opposition to their brother's plan is of "low standing."

Cryonics procedures, according to Alcor, should ideally begin within the first one or two minutes after the heart stops, and preferably within 15 minutes.

Richardson directed in his will that Alcor place into suspension any recoverable remains "regardless of the severity of the damage from such causes as fire, decomposition, autopsy, embalming."

"Because time is of the essence to not only preserve Orville's remains at the earliest time, but also prevent further deterioration for the purposes of scientific research, an expedited hearing is requested," Alcor attorneys said.

District Court Judge John Linn will hear both sides at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

If Alcor is granted its motion, it will shoulder the cost to exhume Orville Richardson's remains.
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Joined: July 1st, 2007, 8:16 am

June 6th, 2009, 8:41 pm #2

Or possibly both?

Richardson made one big mistake. He trusted his relatives. Instead he should have disinherited them in a written and videotaped will and get possibly get even a restraining court order against them. Any cryonicist who trusts relatives is making a deadly mistake.

I think that in this case Alcor very well knows that successful cryopreservation is impossible. If the judge has just two undamaged neurons in his skull, he will throw both the case and Alcor out of his court.
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Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

June 7th, 2009, 1:41 am #3

The guy wanted preserved. He had a right to that. An inalienable right, insofar as it could have kept him alive. Denying him that right is like murder (perhaps it is murder). The family crossed the line, and ought to be sued for all they've got. But apparently Alcor is just trying to get the body so they can preserve what's left of it -- an honourable attempt, even though they are fully aware it is probably too late. It's important for the principle of the thing.

Don't people get it?

We have a right to be decapitated and experimented on after we die!

If we don't fight for that right, what other right will we lose?

Freedom of speech?

Freedom to assemble?

Freedom of the press?

What of our right to life itself? Will that be taken from us too?

Just because some people don't like it, that doesn't mean you can't have your body treated in whatever way you like as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. The guy just wanted his brain placed in biostasis -- not like he wanted his body parts distributed over the neighbor's lawn or something...
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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

June 7th, 2009, 4:06 am #4

The lamebrains on Alcor's Board and/or Management appear to think that the press on exhuming a body several months old and freezing it is going to work in their favor?? I'm surprised the news item above is as unbiased as it is.

I was thinking of titling this post "Luke gets upset!" generally uncharacteristic of him. Well, a lot of his post is correct, but not the part of considering it murder not to freeze somebody who neglected to take care of their family problem before their demise and now is decayed beyond conceivable repair. (I share his view of it being murder not to properly cryopreserve people when needed, which our current civilization is engaged in on the genocide level, but the relatives of the subject under discussion are the murderers .. Alcor is actually a victim in this regard and should hastily exit and recoup.)

CI, I have heard, simply will not store a body that has been exhumed. They seem to have a lot of commonsense there.

There is responsibility on the part of the customer/member of cryo orgs to ensure that their family members who will decide their post "mortem" fate (I think the legal term is "next of kin") are on board the program. And if they are not, to put in place workarounds. I have heard though that Alcor is not big on helping with such matters, and in fact some members I have spoken with said that Alcor really doesn't give a damn about such issues. So Alcor shares in the responsibility of this debacle.

But they need not have made it worse by wanting to exhume a body and give it a separate, frozen, funeral with no conceivable possibility of future viability. Unless some of the dead tissue might help with Mike Perry's notions, who knows ...

Well, now, back to my friend Luke. He said "We have a right to be decapitated and experimented on after we die!".

I got a large charge, a fat belly laff, outa that one! That should be Alcor's motto. Let us chop your head off as you have donated it via the UAGA and we own it (despite Charles Platt's legal ideas) it is donated for RESEARCH not because we consider you a patient in stasis who we will revive at the earliest possible opportunity. And we now have the right to EXPERIMENT on the research specimen that you graciously donated, thank you, and if you ever get revived as a result of our RESEARCH it will be merely a curious byproduct of future activity at Alcor.

For that is the way Alcor's "suspension contract" is written.

This makes CI's model as a "cemetery" with vast legal protection against whimsical activity enacted on the stored bodies, a totally better option, IMO, considering that decades from now people running the orgs will have come and gone, new chiefs occasionally appearing, but the models will still be there written in law.

As I have said many times before, I am still evaluating the current options available for cryonics services. I see Alcor as going the way of the whims of their unelected board, with insanities such as the subject of this thread illuminating. I am increasingly seeing them unwilling to change. CI, despite many warts (a fav term of Steve Harris, MD, who once posted here but got scared off by um, well .. ) is currently leading the pack, IMO. We shall see when it is much closer to my time to need "end of life protection services".

Cheers,

FD
Last edited by Finance_Department on June 7th, 2009, 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: November 1st, 2007, 4:06 am

June 7th, 2009, 4:32 am #5

WTF? Also, another example about the dangers hostile relatives pose to cryonicists:

http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/Cryonics-060609

Cryonics firm sues Burlington family
By JOHN MANGALONZO

jmangalonzo@thehawkeye.com

Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based non-profit corporation, wants local courts to allow it to disinter a Burlington man so he can be preserved in a cryonic process.

Foundation attorneys said Orville Martin Richardson, who died in February at 81, wanted to donate his remains "not only in the hope of potential revival, but also to prove and perfect the process" of cryonic suspension.

Cryonics is the preservation of human remains -- and sometimes animals -- at very low temperature in the hope that future science can restore them to life, youth and health.

Richardson, according to the lawsuit paid Alcor more than $50,000 in 2004 for a membership and included money in his will. He is buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery.

"I further direct that, when and where possible, such delivery shall take place immediately after my legal death, without embalming or autopsy," Richardson wrote.

He also gave Alcor full custody on his remains "by whatever legal means may be available for the purposes of placing them into cryonic suspension."

Still, Alcor attorneys contend the man's brother, David Richardson of Ohio and his sister Darlene Broeker of West Burlington -- co-admnistrators of the estate -- denied the foundation's request for their brother's remains. They also didn't let Alcor know their brother died until months after he was buried.

David Richardson and Darlene Broeker said in court papers that their brother discussed donating his brain or entire head for cryonic suspension. They said Orville Richardson wanted his head severed and frozen after he died.

The siblings apparently tried to talk their brother out of the idea and "emphatically told him they would have nothing to do with his plan."

Attorneys for the pair said the brother and sister did not see the contract and their late brother never told them of actually making such arrangements. Further, they contend Orville Richardson, on several occasions, failed to meet with the agreement he had with Alcor, which constitutes cancellation of the agreement.

"All evidence indicates that after Orville (Richardson) signed the agreement and wrote his check, he did nothing to honor the agreement or to make sure that his head would be cut off and frozen after his death," attorneys for the siblings said in court papers asking a judge to deny Alcor's request.

They added David Richardson and Darlene Broeker's opposition to their brother's plan is of "low standing."

Cryonics procedures, according to Alcor, should ideally begin within the first one or two minutes after the heart stops, and preferably within 15 minutes.

Richardson directed in his will that Alcor place into suspension any recoverable remains "regardless of the severity of the damage from such causes as fire, decomposition, autopsy, embalming."

"Because time is of the essence to not only preserve Orville's remains at the earliest time, but also prevent further deterioration for the purposes of scientific research, an expedited hearing is requested," Alcor attorneys said.

District Court Judge John Linn will hear both sides at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

If Alcor is granted its motion, it will shoulder the cost to exhume Orville Richardson's remains.
Hope Alcor wins. A failure could have disastrous consequences for cryonics in general.
Basie
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Joined: July 1st, 2007, 8:16 am

June 7th, 2009, 1:16 pm #6

The guy wanted preserved. He had a right to that. An inalienable right, insofar as it could have kept him alive. Denying him that right is like murder (perhaps it is murder). The family crossed the line, and ought to be sued for all they've got. But apparently Alcor is just trying to get the body so they can preserve what's left of it -- an honourable attempt, even though they are fully aware it is probably too late. It's important for the principle of the thing.

Don't people get it?

We have a right to be decapitated and experimented on after we die!

If we don't fight for that right, what other right will we lose?

Freedom of speech?

Freedom to assemble?

Freedom of the press?

What of our right to life itself? Will that be taken from us too?

Just because some people don't like it, that doesn't mean you can't have your body treated in whatever way you like as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. The guy just wanted his brain placed in biostasis -- not like he wanted his body parts distributed over the neighbor's lawn or something...
The guy wanted preserved. He had a right to that. Denying him that right is like murder (perhaps it is murder). The family crossed the line, and ought to be sued for all they've got. But apparently Alcor is just trying to get the body so they can preserve what's left of it -- an honourable attempt, even though they are fully aware it is probably too late.

Yes, Richardson had the right. But after being buried four months, his body is irreversibly disintegrated. Richardson was here the damaged party. Therefore only he would have the right to sue. He cannot. His next of kin probably could also sue on behalf of Richardsons estate. Unfortunately, in this case it is not possible, because here that next of kin would have to sue himself on behalf of Richardsons estate.

I think that Alcors motive here is obvious - $50,000 plus interest accrued since 2004. Alcor cannot argue that it is simply trying to intern the Alcor member according to his wishes. This could argue for example CI, which is a licensed cemetery, but not Alcor. This case just does not pass the laughing test. In my opinion, judge cannot do nothing short of dismissing the case. He should also award the defendant court costs and legal fees.

Alcor took considerable sum of money from a sick, elderly person. That was the end of all Alcors involvement. There was no further involvement. There was absolutely no follow-up of any sort. Alcor knew very well, that this Alcor members life expectancy statistically was very short. Despite that, during the following 5 years Alcor took no action to follow up on this member. Why should they? After all they already had his money. This could be construed by the court as a gross negligence, and because this is the Alcors usual business practice, perhaps even as a fraud. The judge also could refer it either to the district attorney, or a U.S. Attorney for appropriate action. I think that only such strong action will force the provider to change the business practice in regard to its members. After all, members cannot and should not depend, on their relatives (who may have conflicting interests) to arrange their post-mortem cryopreservation. The provider knows it, experienced it already many times, yet it still ignores it.

Well, who know, from this case there may come something good for the Alcor members and their rights.

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queensblade
queensblade

June 7th, 2009, 1:40 pm #7

Your all assuming he is not recoverable. He might have had an exceptional embalming.
Alcor screwed up, so did the client. Alcor should continue the legal battle, if for nothing else,
to set precedent. That way everyone will have a better defined expectation of who is responsible for what. Nail it down so it won't happen again.
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Joined: March 3rd, 2005, 2:52 am

June 7th, 2009, 3:02 pm #8

The guy wanted preserved. He had a right to that. Denying him that right is like murder (perhaps it is murder). The family crossed the line, and ought to be sued for all they've got. But apparently Alcor is just trying to get the body so they can preserve what's left of it -- an honourable attempt, even though they are fully aware it is probably too late.

Yes, Richardson had the right. But after being buried four months, his body is irreversibly disintegrated. Richardson was here the damaged party. Therefore only he would have the right to sue. He cannot. His next of kin probably could also sue on behalf of Richardsons estate. Unfortunately, in this case it is not possible, because here that next of kin would have to sue himself on behalf of Richardsons estate.

I think that Alcors motive here is obvious - $50,000 plus interest accrued since 2004. Alcor cannot argue that it is simply trying to intern the Alcor member according to his wishes. This could argue for example CI, which is a licensed cemetery, but not Alcor. This case just does not pass the laughing test. In my opinion, judge cannot do nothing short of dismissing the case. He should also award the defendant court costs and legal fees.

Alcor took considerable sum of money from a sick, elderly person. That was the end of all Alcors involvement. There was no further involvement. There was absolutely no follow-up of any sort. Alcor knew very well, that this Alcor members life expectancy statistically was very short. Despite that, during the following 5 years Alcor took no action to follow up on this member. Why should they? After all they already had his money. This could be construed by the court as a gross negligence, and because this is the Alcors usual business practice, perhaps even as a fraud. The judge also could refer it either to the district attorney, or a U.S. Attorney for appropriate action. I think that only such strong action will force the provider to change the business practice in regard to its members. After all, members cannot and should not depend, on their relatives (who may have conflicting interests) to arrange their post-mortem cryopreservation. The provider knows it, experienced it already many times, yet it still ignores it.

Well, who know, from this case there may come something good for the Alcor members and their rights.
The two new ones have the initials "J.D." after their names. If they okayed this course of action, I hope they can defend it legally.
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Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

June 7th, 2009, 3:24 pm #9

The guy wanted preserved. He had a right to that. Denying him that right is like murder (perhaps it is murder). The family crossed the line, and ought to be sued for all they've got. But apparently Alcor is just trying to get the body so they can preserve what's left of it -- an honourable attempt, even though they are fully aware it is probably too late.

Yes, Richardson had the right. But after being buried four months, his body is irreversibly disintegrated. Richardson was here the damaged party. Therefore only he would have the right to sue. He cannot. His next of kin probably could also sue on behalf of Richardsons estate. Unfortunately, in this case it is not possible, because here that next of kin would have to sue himself on behalf of Richardsons estate.

I think that Alcors motive here is obvious - $50,000 plus interest accrued since 2004. Alcor cannot argue that it is simply trying to intern the Alcor member according to his wishes. This could argue for example CI, which is a licensed cemetery, but not Alcor. This case just does not pass the laughing test. In my opinion, judge cannot do nothing short of dismissing the case. He should also award the defendant court costs and legal fees.

Alcor took considerable sum of money from a sick, elderly person. That was the end of all Alcors involvement. There was no further involvement. There was absolutely no follow-up of any sort. Alcor knew very well, that this Alcor members life expectancy statistically was very short. Despite that, during the following 5 years Alcor took no action to follow up on this member. Why should they? After all they already had his money. This could be construed by the court as a gross negligence, and because this is the Alcors usual business practice, perhaps even as a fraud. The judge also could refer it either to the district attorney, or a U.S. Attorney for appropriate action. I think that only such strong action will force the provider to change the business practice in regard to its members. After all, members cannot and should not depend, on their relatives (who may have conflicting interests) to arrange their post-mortem cryopreservation. The provider knows it, experienced it already many times, yet it still ignores it.

Well, who know, from this case there may come something good for the Alcor members and their rights.
"Alcor took considerable sum of money from a sick, elderly person. That was the end of all Alcors involvement. There was no further involvement. There was absolutely no follow-up of any sort. Alcor knew very well, that this Alcor members life expectancy statistically was very short. Despite that, during the following 5 years Alcor took no action to follow up on this member. Why should they? After all they already had his money."

You might have a point there. Perhaps Alcor is partially to blame for the lack of care. If so, they may be just as responsible for the guy's information-theoretic death.

I can see more blame going to a "faceless corporation" which presumably has experience in these matters rather than the bereaved family, who were blindsided by circumstances and wrapped in emotion at the time of death. They didn't take cryonics seriously enough to support his decision before death, and ultimately ended up violating the man's wishes...

I'm sure it was not as if they sat down and thought "hey we're going to kill this man" or "let's violate his last wishes". It was something a lot less rational and a lot less deliberate. It was just that they can't wrap their minds around the idea that this guy really expected to benefit from this procedure, and he really didn't care about a "proper burial".

As you have said, part of the blame is the guy's own for not taking stronger legal steps, making a videotape, keeping up on his dues, etc.

Perhaps even the members don't, on some gut level, really take this matter seriously?
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Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

June 7th, 2009, 3:37 pm #10

WTF? Also, another example about the dangers hostile relatives pose to cryonicists:

http://www.thehawkeye.com/Story/Cryonics-060609

Cryonics firm sues Burlington family
By JOHN MANGALONZO

jmangalonzo@thehawkeye.com

Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based non-profit corporation, wants local courts to allow it to disinter a Burlington man so he can be preserved in a cryonic process.

Foundation attorneys said Orville Martin Richardson, who died in February at 81, wanted to donate his remains "not only in the hope of potential revival, but also to prove and perfect the process" of cryonic suspension.

Cryonics is the preservation of human remains -- and sometimes animals -- at very low temperature in the hope that future science can restore them to life, youth and health.

Richardson, according to the lawsuit paid Alcor more than $50,000 in 2004 for a membership and included money in his will. He is buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery.

"I further direct that, when and where possible, such delivery shall take place immediately after my legal death, without embalming or autopsy," Richardson wrote.

He also gave Alcor full custody on his remains "by whatever legal means may be available for the purposes of placing them into cryonic suspension."

Still, Alcor attorneys contend the man's brother, David Richardson of Ohio and his sister Darlene Broeker of West Burlington -- co-admnistrators of the estate -- denied the foundation's request for their brother's remains. They also didn't let Alcor know their brother died until months after he was buried.

David Richardson and Darlene Broeker said in court papers that their brother discussed donating his brain or entire head for cryonic suspension. They said Orville Richardson wanted his head severed and frozen after he died.

The siblings apparently tried to talk their brother out of the idea and "emphatically told him they would have nothing to do with his plan."

Attorneys for the pair said the brother and sister did not see the contract and their late brother never told them of actually making such arrangements. Further, they contend Orville Richardson, on several occasions, failed to meet with the agreement he had with Alcor, which constitutes cancellation of the agreement.

"All evidence indicates that after Orville (Richardson) signed the agreement and wrote his check, he did nothing to honor the agreement or to make sure that his head would be cut off and frozen after his death," attorneys for the siblings said in court papers asking a judge to deny Alcor's request.

They added David Richardson and Darlene Broeker's opposition to their brother's plan is of "low standing."

Cryonics procedures, according to Alcor, should ideally begin within the first one or two minutes after the heart stops, and preferably within 15 minutes.

Richardson directed in his will that Alcor place into suspension any recoverable remains "regardless of the severity of the damage from such causes as fire, decomposition, autopsy, embalming."

"Because time is of the essence to not only preserve Orville's remains at the earliest time, but also prevent further deterioration for the purposes of scientific research, an expedited hearing is requested," Alcor attorneys said.

District Court Judge John Linn will hear both sides at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

If Alcor is granted its motion, it will shoulder the cost to exhume Orville Richardson's remains.
greatly enhance the general public's feelings that cryonics people are crazy...
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