Attorney: Multi-million dollar judgment against Sunset Mesa Funeral Directors reflects ‘magnitude of desecration’

Tammy Neil, right, stands with Helen Gonzales, who holds a photo of Leroy Gonzales, at a 2018 memorial for decedents whose arrangements were handled through Sunset Mesa Funeral Home Directors. Helen Gonzales was among about 30 plaintiffs to be awarded substantial damages on Wednesday over the mishandling of her husband’s remains.

Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation defendants in a multi-party action were ordered to pay millions of dollars to 30 people who sued over the selling of their loved ones’ bodies – although, the plaintiffs’ attorney cautioned, they are unlikely to collect much, if any, money.

After hearing testimony as to damages in February, Montrose District Judge Cory Jackson on Wednesday awarded all but one plaintiff in Artrup, et. al., damages, trebling the awards in some instances. He found Sunset Mesa defendants Megan Hess, her mother Shirley Koch, and father Alan Koch were liable by default because they had failed to defend or offer pleadings to the claimed violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and Colorado’s civil theft statute.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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