Family of man mistakenly declared dead sues Orange County for $2M

ORANGE COUNTY (KABC) -- The family of a man who was mistakenly told he was dead has filed a $2 million lawsuit against Orange County.

Family members of Frank Kerrigan were told in May by sheriff's investigators that the 57-year-old transient had died. They were given a body which was buried beside Kerrigan's mother.

Two weeks later, Kerrigan showed up at the home of a friend who had attended the funeral.

MORE: Family files negligence claim against OC coroner after man wrongfully ID'd as dead

Investigators said they now know who was buried in the Kerrigan family plot, but they have declined to identify the body until they are able to contact the family.

"Upon being made aware that an error was made was, the staff at the Coroner Division have worked diligently to rectify the situation," the sheriff's department said in a statement. "The department has opened an internal investigation into the misidentification of the decedent to determine the cause of the error and will look at the policy to determine if changes need to be made."

The Kerrigan family maintains that the Orange County Coroner Division knew the correct identity of the body for at least 25 days.

In a statement, an attorney for the Kerrigan family said,"Our office first notified the Coroner of their tragic error and misfeasance in the identification process on May 30, 2017, long before the story came to public attention."

"We hope that the public outcry from this past weekend and the Government Claim we have filed against the Coroner can help prevent incidents like this in the future and ensure that the homeless are treated with the dignity and humanity that all people deserve, both in life and death," the statement continued.
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