It’s the larger of the two lawsuits against Brock’s Hometown Funeral Home, formerly at 5907 State 22, with six families named as plaintiffs.
PANAMA CITY — A trial date has been firmly set in the lawsuit of six families suing a now-defunct local funeral home for improperly keeping the decomposing bodies of their relatives, according to court records.
It’s the larger of the two lawsuits against Brock’s Hometown Funeral Home, formerly at 5907 State 22, with six families named as plaintiffs. The lawsuits stem from August 2016, when authorities discovered 16 bodies in varying states of decay in the funeral home and arrested the director, 64-year-old Gregory Dunphy, and daughter of one of the owners, 39-year-old Felicia Boesch, on misdemeanor charges of mishandling human remains. A circuit judge has given the families a firm trial date of Oct. 1, ruling that no more continuances will be approved without good cause, court records show.
A second lawsuit, involving one other family, is pending mediation.
Boesch and Dunphy have pleaded no contest to the several misdemeanor charges they faced. Each was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to write apology letters to the families involved. Boesch recently completed the terms of her probation and had the charges dropped while Dunphy remains on probation.
According to court filings in one lawsuit, the supervisors of the business — Don Glenn, Johnny Brock, Gerald Guynn and Boesch — claim they never met the plaintiffs and plan to blame Dunphy as part of their defense.
“Mr. Dunphy had complete control of the activities of the funeral home at the time when the incident occurred,” the response to the lawsuit states. “We were not even aware of any issues with the funeral home because Mr. Dunphy failed to report them and did not notify us of any issues.”
The response goes on to say Boesch’s role allegedly was to handle death certificates while Dunphy controlled all other activities. As the funeral director, no decisions could be made without Dunphy’s written consent as per state law, the response states.
The main charge in reports from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office is that Dunphy was responsible for managing the main funeral home and, thus, responsible for the six bodies being stored there without any refrigeration. Boesch was accused of being responsible for the cooler area and charged with 10 counts of unlawful preservation and storage of human remains for the bodies kept there at improper temperatures.
After the discovery, Brock’s surrendered its license and immediately closed its doors. The response filed by the owners maintains Dunphy’s actions led to the closure and cost them about $50,000 in investment capital as well as their reputation and integrity.