Lawsuit: Florida Cruise Line Stored Body in Cooler

Family is suing after Robert L. Jones's body decomposed over six days
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2023 9:55 AM CDT
Lawsuit: Florida Cruise Line Stored Body in Cooler
The Celebrity Equinox.   (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, File)

Robert L. Jones died of a heart attack in August at age 78 while on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship with his wife, Marilyn. The couple were on a trip from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean, reports USA Today, and still had six days to go. According to a Jones family lawsuit filed last week against Celebrity Cruises, Jones's body was stored in a beverage cooler for the duration of the cruise and quickly decomposed, ballooning and turning green. Though Equinox staff said there was a morgue on board the ship, it was not functioning properly at the time, according to the suit. The decomposition deprived Jones's loved ones, in the words of the lawsuit, "the closure their family and community deserved."

Celebrity Cruises didn't comment when contacted by the AP. The Jones family asserted in court papers that Equinox staff behaved "recklessly, negligently without care, willfully, and wantonly" in their handling of the body. The suit goes on to say that had the Joneses known the morgue wasn't working, they would have had the body removed from the ship in Puerto Rico, where it could have been properly stored until funeral arrangements were made. The family is reportedly seeking $1 million in damages. (More cruise ships stories.)

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