Families' claims against Harvard dismissed in morgue case



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A Massachusetts judge has dismissed the case brought forth by families who sued Harvard University after remains of their loved ones were allegedly stolen and sold on the black market.

Cedric Lodge, the former manager of the morgue at the Harvard Medical School, was indicted in June 2023, along with his wife and several others, for trafficking the remains stolen from the school’s mortuary.

The plaintiffs in the case are the relatives of the people who donated their bodies to the medical school for use in education or research. The families also filed claims against the university and two Harvard employees, Mark Cicchetti and Tracey Fay.

The judge, Kenneth Salinger, argued that although Lodge did “appalling things,” the school, Cicchetti and Fay are not “vicariously liable” for his actions.

“The Court will allow the motions to dismiss all claims against Harvard, Cicchetti, and Fay, because the factual allegations in the complaints do not plausibly suggest that these Harvard Defendants failed to act in good faith in receiving and handling the donated bodies, or that they are legally responsible for Mr. Lodge’s alleged misconduct,” the judge wrote in an order.

The claims against Lodge were allowed to move forward. He faces federal charges of conspiracy and interstate transport of stolen goods.

At his indictment, Lodge was accused of working with a network of individuals across the country to sell human remains from the university’s medical school and a mortuary located in Arkansas. Lodge allegedly stole the organs and other parts of cadavers and transported them to his New Hampshire residents.

Authorities said that the cadavers were usually cremated and the ashes were returned to the donor’s family or buried after the school no longer needed them for educational purposes, the Associated Press reported.  

The Hill has reached out to Harvard for comment.

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