Harold St. John passed away suddenly on February 28. His death, however, has sparked a controversy involving Chrysler and a number of auto suppliers who are defendants in a legal battle with the late 67-year-old retired airline employee.
St. John and his wife filed suit against a dozen companies last summer claiming his exposure to asbestos in their products while working at a family-owned auto shop in the '50s and '60s had caused his mesothelioma, or cancer of the lungs. While some defendants have settled with the St. John family, six remain including Chrysler, Honeywell and Bosche Braking System, among others.

The case was to go trial on Monday, March 9, but St. John's sudden death last month produced a wrinkle. On March 3, the day he was to be buried, Chrysler secured a court order to stop the burial after a judge denied it access to the body for an autopsy. A process server attended the funeral and, after the mourners had left, instructed the funeral director not to bury the body and return it to the funeral home.

Fortunately, the same judge who denied Chrysler's request for an autopsy the first time around has denied it again, noting that samples of the outside lining of St. John's lung had been taken last December. This should clear the way for St. John's burial where he will rest peacefully, undisturbed by Chrysler's legal team.

[Source: WCBSTV, NJ.com via Wired | Photo by Br3nda, CC2.0]

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