Victims' Families Sue Crime-Scene Cleanup Company and Crew

Categories: Biz, Legal Battles

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via Flickr

Aftermath Inc. refers to itself as a "biohazard restoration company", more commonly known as crime-scene cleanup: The company's employees go in after murders, suicides, injuries, hoarding cases and other seriously unpleasant situations. But now three of their Texas employees are being sued in Dallas County district court, where five families claim that after their loved ones died, the Aftermath cleaning crews seriously deceived them about the cost of their services, charged for hours in which they'd worked for 15 minutes and sat around for 45, and billed their parent company for cleaning supplies they'd never actually touched.

Jeffrey Mayes, Cynthia Karle and Ricardo Donato all had family members who died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Justine Ingels and Crystal Dopkins had loved ones who were found dead several days after decomposition began. All of them hired Aftermath, an Illinois-based company with offices all over the United States.

The suit claims that Dawn Wilcox, Brian Cox and Justin Foster were hired to do cleanup for all the plaintiffs in 2011 or 2012. In each case, the family members ended up receiving staggering bills from Aftermath, which they claim was the result of fraudulent billing from the trio.

The families claim that the amounts they were charged ended up being "300 percent to 1,000 percent" greater than what they'd been quoted. They also say that the trio "had a pattern of working for 15 minutes and taking breaks for 45 minutes," then reporting full hours of work back to the mothership.

And Aftermath, the families say, has heard from them and done nothing. "In response to each victim, Aftermath Inc. has denied allegations of misrepresentation and ignored their pleas," the plaintiffs write. "This has been Aftermath Inc.'s unwavering response in spite of repetitive and identifiable markings of the Conspirators' scheme." One of the workers, Brian Cox, was recently promoted to regional supervisor, the suit says.

Aftermath says on itswebsite that insurance typically pays for "some, or all" of a bill for cleaning services rendered, and that Aftermath submits a bill on behalf of the clients. The plaintiffs claim that they've been told to bill their insurance companies themselves for the charges, and that when insurance has refused to pay -- "often stating the charges were unreasonable and excessive" -- they're told to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance. Fox 4 previously reported that the Donato family was given a bill for $22,000, of which their insurance company said they would only pay 10 percent.

The plaintiffs also claim that liens have been executed on some of their homes in an attempt to collect on the money owed, and that all of them have been threatened with other legal action.

Aftermath made news in Massachusetts last year, when a woman named Regina Revelus, whose 23-year-old son murdered his two sisters before being killed by police, sued the company. She said Aftermath billed her more than $32,000 and took a lien out on her home when she didn't pay. A report there found five other lawsuits against the company with similar claims. They have also been sued unsuccessfully in Ohio over similar issues. Another disgruntled customer also appears to have started a Wordpress site that accuses Aftermath of taking financial advantage of its customers.

Aftermath didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, and we're still trying to find the defendants to hear their side. We'll update if and when we hear back. The full complaint is below.

Civil Lawsuit against Aftermath Inc. Cleaning Crew



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12 comments
Fletch
Fletch

The plaintiffs should've gotten that quote in writing.  If they refused to offer a written estimate, call someone else.

Still, I think I'd sue them, too.  Those charges are outrageous.  They're cleaning up blood and guts, not a nuclear catastrophe.

Mayra Martinez
Mayra Martinez

I'm glad they're being sued.  They make legit companies look bad.  There is a real need for this service, but it shouldn't cost anywhere near what those people were billing.  And, from what I understand LE is not allowed to refer one company over another, so there's a problem if they were referring this company.

Cboswellcit101
Cboswellcit101

Depressed people over the death of loved ones looking for a scapegoat

Montemalone
Montemalone

They should have used Sunshine Cleaning.

Observerist
Observerist

The local police departments need to be investigated for referring these clowns with a verifiable history of over-billing in several other states.

Can you say "kickback"?

Cujo
Cujo

Damn, someone figured out a way to beat undertakers to the opportunity to rip off the bereaved.  I'm surprised nobody from the National Funeral Directors Association is looking for a piece of their ass too.

GinoRomano
GinoRomano

jonathan lee riches sues adam mayes kyliyah bain for $5 miilion .CNN BREAKING NEWS

Poster Atat
Poster Atat

 The proper response is for there to be more such companies, but in any event, 10K for a days work is too much for anybody, including doctors, unless they are a world class specialist at what they do, which is not the case by most doctors who over-charge and this company in the article.

Poster Atat
Poster Atat

 but isn't 20 THOUSAND dollars a tad high for a few days work?20,000 dollars???  Really???(I have the same complaint about emergency room doctors, the room, etc.)

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