“They didn’t ask if Bessie was OK. They didn’t ask why hasn’t this cart moved in four days,” Hart said. “They asked why aren’t the bathrooms being cleaned.”
Another attorney representing the Durham family, Justin Bamberg, told The Associated Press, “This family should have had the opportunity to say goodbye the right way instead of having to sit at the funeral and smell the decomposing body of someone they cared about.”
The Lexington County Coroner’s Office did an autopsy and discovered that Durham died of natural causes. They agreed with the family that Durham had been dead inside the restroom for four days before her body was found. The lawsuit alleges that the store was negligent by not thinking to check on Durham as her cart was not moved from outside the restroom. The suit also argues that the company had no restroom inspection procedures. This problem, the lawsuit alleges, was made worse by a store policy enacted after a shooting at the store that required the bathroom door to be locked. This, in turn, created a situation where Durham’s body decomposed quickly due to the hot and moist environment of the department store bathroom.
Durham’s daughter, Sylvia Smith, spoke to CBS News 19 about her family’s motivations for the lawsuit, telling the outlet: “She was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, and wife. We’re all just wanting ownership to be taken.”
Another of Durham’s daughters, Sheniki Jeter, told the outlet about her mother’s body’s condition at the funeral.
“We couldn’t even view the body. We didn’t have any last moments, we couldn’t see her smile, we couldn’t see how beautiful she was,” Jeter said.
According to Jeter, the family is seeking justice so that what happened to her mother will never happen to anyone else.
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Source: Black Enterprise