Jewish couples lawsuit dismissed

A judge in San Mateo County last week tentatively dismissed a New York couple’s lawsuit against a coroner who turned part of their son’s brain over to an ambulance company for dissection.

In his ruling Feb. 22, the judge said that the San Mateo County coroner was not required to notify Jerald and Sandy Wolkoff that pieces of their son’s brain were given to ambulance company American Medical Response. But he did give the couple the opportunity to amend their complaint and resubmit it.

The Wolkoffs are observant Jews  who said their faith requires them to bury their son whole. Their 30-year-old son, Steven, was killed in a seven-car pileup on Highway 1 in unincorporated San Mateo County in 2008.

AMR had requested parts of his brain for dissection and analysis, in order to defend itself in a separate, since-settled wrongful-death lawsuit. The Wolkoffs claimed actions by the paramedics contributed to Steven’s death.

The dismissed lawsuit claimed negligence and emotional distress. The couple’s attorney said they planned to resubmit the lawsuit against the coroner. — ap