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NY Court: Medical Examiners Don't Have To Return All Organs

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York's highest court has ruled that medical examiners don't have to return to families all organs from autopsied bodies or even tell them parts are missing.

The case involves a Staten Island couple who buried their 17-year-old son after a 2005 car crash, not knowing his brain had been removed.

Two months after the funeral, Jesse Shipley's sister's high school class saw his brain in a labeled jar during a morgue field trip.

NY Court: Medical Examiners Don't Have To Return All Organs

The Shipleys got it back and had a second funeral.

A jury awarded them $1 million for emotional distress, reduced to $600,000 by a midlevel court.

The Court of Appeals said Wednesday that medical examiners have discretion to tell families organs have been kept and have no liability for not doing it.

"They feel that now they're suffering another violation at the hands of the court, and regrettably, I can't say that they're wrong," Marvin Ben-Aron, the Shipley family's lawyer, told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman.

City lawyers said as the case wound its way through the courts, the medical examiner started notifying families. Most, they said, have not wanted the body parts back, and many wish they had never been asked.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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