On October 11, 2016, Meaghan Bryan and Michael Sharkey provided a dual presentation on Minnesota wrongful death law and mortuary law to the Twin Cities Claims Association at Pour Richards Common House in Bloomington, MN. The presentations were geared toward the Halloween season, with Bryan’s entitled: Mortal Concerns: An Autopsy of Minnesota Wrongful Death Law, and Sharkey’s entitled, Grave Matters: An Introduction to Claims Against Funeral Homes, Crematories, and Cemeteries.
Sharkey, whose practice includes representing funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries on legal and business matters, was a Funeral Director with a large funeral chapel and cemetery operation in the metropolitan area prior to practicing law. His presentation to the TCCA included a showcase of props from his prior vocation, along with a discussion of the types of claims and defenses to expect, and practice tips for confronting the issues and personalities in this particular area of the law.
Bryan’s presentation provided an overview of the “creature of statute” known as the wrongful death act, Minn. Stat. § 573.02, discussing its statutory composition and the necessity of strict compliance with its provisions regarding trustee appointment and time limitations. Bryan also discussed the concept of “pecuniary loss,” and the factors the jury will consider when awarding damages to the next of kin. Finally, Bryan provided practice tips for investigating and valuing wrongful death claims.