New York Daily News: BROOKLYN – The widow of a drowning victim says a Brooklyn funeral home failed to control her toxic in-laws who spat and threw wild punches during her husband’s funeral. (New York Daily News Handout)
A grieving widow claims a Brooklyn funeral home failed to control her in-laws who spat and threw wild punches, knocked over wreaths and tipped her husband’s casket during his memorial service, according to a new lawsuit.
Ormella Ramos is suing Funeraria Juan-John’s Funeral Home accusing its workers of failing to keep the wake from spinning out of control — even though they knew that family tensions might boil over.
Ramos’ husband, Marc Anthony Humberto Ramos, accidentally drowned in June 2019 at Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina, where the couple lived with their four children.
The couple were teenage sweethearts who had their first child when she was 17, and Ramos said the family never approved of their union and blamed her for his death.
Her husband wanted to be cremated, but his family was against it, creating further tension between the widow and her in-laws, Ramos told the Daily News.
Nevertheless, Ramos said that she wanted to move past the bad feelings for her children’s sake and invited her husband’s sisters to the service.
She picked the East New York funeral home to handle the arrangements, and Ramos warned staff there “of the numerous issues involving the family,” according to her lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
The day before the funeral Ramos’ sisters-in-law allegedly said that they did not want the widow at the service. When she showed up with her late husband’s best friend an argument and some shoving occurred, Ramos told The News. She opted to leave the mortuary that day and let tempers cool, she said.
“We’re not here for a problem,” Ramos said. “We’re not here for this.”
The staff knew that everyone was on edge and told her “they would handle everything,” the lawsuit says.
She returned with her children and friends the next day, but emotions still ran high as they were about to begin the service.
Ramos said that she was speaking with one of her friends, telling her how good her husband looked even in death.
“I was just trying to make a moment for myself,” she said, but one of the sisters objected to her comments and told her to “Shut the f–k up.”
“I look over and she just gets up and starts screaming and saying I killed my husband,” Ramos said. She shot back that the sister had “wished death upon him and that’s why we’re here right now.”
A video recording of the ensuing melee shows Ramos’s sister-in-law approaching her in front of the casket and they appear to exchange words. A man comes between the two of them, but another woman, who the widow said was her friend, continues to engage with the relative until the sister-in-law throws a left-handed roundhouse slap at the woman’s face.
The woman fights back and the two windmill at each other, knocking over wreaths and bumping the open casket.
Another woman, who Ramos identified as her late husband’s other sister, was spitting at the warring parties, she said.
As the battle raged, a member of the funeral home staff led Ramos and one of her young sons to a side room, where they kept two bodies, and urged her to call 911, the widow’s lawyer Philip Rizzuto told The News.
When police arrived, they arrested four people, including Ramos, who was charged with misdemeanor assault, accused of slugging one of her in-laws, an NYPD spokeswoman said.
The video shows that Ramos never threw a punch.
A spokeswoman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said they had no record of the case, which is often the result after a criminal case is sealed.
“She told the funeral home beforehand and requested that they maintain some sort of order. Not only did they not, and they allowed this whole brawl to happen, they end up pulling Ms. Ramos aside and calling the cops and having her arrested,” Rizzuto said. “The charges were all dropped, but she was detained for about 30 hours.”
John Nieman, the owner of the funeral home, said that he did not recall the incident and declined to comment further.
Ramos said she’s suing because she believes that the mortician could have done more to create a safe and controlled environment for her and her children.
“This is really emotionally traumatizing for me and my family,” she said. “I wanted to have some kind of positive memory for me and my children. I wanted some type of good memory from their dad. You can’t bring their dad back, but what happened isn’t right. He deserved a decent service as well.”
Top Feature Photo Was Caught On Camera