Dan Harkins Aug. 10, 2015, 12:37pm

Five individuals are filing a class action lawsuit against health centers and medical businesses, alleging a ruse to traffic in body parts.

Pequeena Dixon, as representative of a class with Deborah McClain, Deveda Perkins, Diane Owens, William Perkins and others similarly situated, filed a lawsuit May 28 in Cook County Circuit Court against the Biological Resource Center of Illinois, Biological Resource Center of Phoenix, International Biological Inc., Arthroscopy Association of North America, Anatomical Service Inc., Cremation Services Inc., Waukegan Hospice Corp and Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, alleging fraud.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege "the mishandling, abuse and desecration of their deceased loved ones' body ... issuing a false certification of cremation and incomplete return of remains, and making false statements and promised concerning how and where donated bodies will be used."

The suit says on Dec. 10, 2013, the plaintiffs received a certificate of cremation from the defendants concerning the remains of William Earl Perkins, which were, in part, to be donated to science. However, on April 4, 2015, the lawsuit states, Dixon and the other plaintiffs were informed by the FBI about a criminal investigation concerning the defendants, "stating the plaintiffs' loved one's body parts may have been identified during the execution of a search warrant," in a search related to a body part trafficking case.

Not only can't the plaintiffs ensure the remains presented to them are authentic but they also can't be sure they are complete, the lawsuit states. It also is impossible to determine, how many members of the class there should be, the suit says.

The plaintiffs allege fraud, conspiracy, negligence, tortious interference with a dead body, infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.

The plaintiffs seek to classify this case as a class action, to award damages equal to the cost of identification and location of remains, as well as unspecified actual, punitive and compensatory damages, attorney fees and court costs. They are represented by Clinton A. Krislov and Kenneth T. Goldstein of Krislov & Associates in Chicago. 

Cook County Circuit Court case number 2015CH08513.

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