Last week I wrote about how Chrysler and Honeywell issued a subpoena for the autopsy of Harold St. John during his funeral. The subpoena halted Mr. St. John’s funeral and he was never buried. In response to this, the St. John family fought Chrysler and Honeywell’s demands because Mr. St. John underwent a biopsy of the pleural lining of his lungs while he was still alive. The family was successful this week when a New Jersey appellate court ruled that Chrysler and Honeywell did not have good cause to request an autopsy of Mr. St. John’s body.
Michael Palese, a Chrysler spokesman, said in an emailed statement that the auto manufacturer disagrees with the appellate courts decision and is evaluating its legal options. Chryslers deepest sympathies are with the St. John family for their loss. At no time did Chrysler intend any disrespect to the late Mr. St. John or to his family at this difficult time, he said in the email. Numerous epidemiological studies have refuted the link between automotive products and asbestos-related disease, he said. We expect to prevail when this matter goes to trial.
Victoria Ann Streitfeld, a Honeywell spokeswoman also disagrees with the courts decision. Honeywell extends its condolences to the St. John family, she said It is unfortunate that the hearing ordered by the court resulted in the delay of Mr. St. Johns burial. However, we believe the evidence we sought was central to our case.