Remember that guy who crashed his plane into an IRS office, killing himself and one employee inside? Valerie Hunter, the wife of the dead employee, Vernon Hunter, is suing Sheryl Stack, the wife of the pilot.
"Stack was threatened enough by Joseph Stack that she took her daughter and stayed at a hotel the night before the plane crash. [She] owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of injury to others including [Vernon Hunter]," the suit says.Now, doctors can be subject to this sort of lawsuit if they release a patient who subsequently injures someone else. The suit will allege that the doctor should have realized the patient was dangerous. That's why the drunk guy in my ER stays in restraints until he's sober. Even if that won't be until tomorrow afternoon. No matter how much he yells about his 'rights'.1
But does a spouse have the same sort of diffuse, universal responsibility to the general public that a professional does?
Then we get:
The lawsuit also seeks to bar the release of Vernon Hunter's autopsy report, saying that, if made public, it would cause Hunter's family to suffer "severe and irreparable emotional distress."Translation: Vernon Hunter was usually drunk at work. Or used drugs. Or had a lethal pre-existing condition that he hadn't disclosed on his life insurance application. Or was being slowly poisoned by Valerie Hunter in hopes of collecting said insurance. Or was an alien, revenant, or golem who had flayed a human and was wearing his skin.
For a plaintiff in a wrongful death suit to refuse an autopsy of the wrongfully dead person is a big red flag waving, that someone is trying to conceal something. IMO, trying to block an autopsy in these circumstances should not be allowed, or the lawsuit should be immediately dismissed.
In any event, the autopsy is going to happen, the wife can't stop it. The Medical Examiner is going to do an autopsy, because it's a violent death. That's his job description. It's a legal requirement. If I were the ME, such a request would me me do a more thorough autopsy than I might have otherwise, because it raises suspicions that shenanigans are afoot.
1. An oversimplification; there are exceptions.