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Jury Awards Nearly $250,000 For Negligent Handling of Man’s Ashes

September 1, 1990

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A jury awarded more than $240,000 to the family and lover of a man whose ashes were mistakenly scattered at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.

A Superior Court jury found the Neptune Society, a crematorium, was negligent in handling the remains of Robert Saari and had breached its contract to return the ashes for a private service to Saari’s lover, Patrick Hinrichsen.

Saari died in January 1985 of AIDS. The Neptune Society, which specializes in scattering ashes at sea, was hired only to cremate Saari.

The three-week trial ended Thursday. The $242,503 award gave Hinrichsen $175,000; Saari’s mother, Tyme, $62,500; and Saari’s sister, Peggy, $5,000. The panel also awarded each plaintiff $1 in punitive damages against the society.

Richard Jongordon, former owner of the Neptune Society, was the target of the lawsuit.

″It was one of those things,″ he said. ″One of the employees made a mistake. It was totally unintentional.″

The current owners, who took over Neptune a year ago, weren’t named in the lawsuit.

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