Real Estate & Property Law

Widow Argues for Right to Keep Husband Buried in Backyard

A widow in Chester, Conn., is asking the state supreme court to allow her to keep her husband’s remains buried in her backyard.

A lawyer argued the case for 82-year-old Elise Piquet on Tuesday, report the Hartford Courant, NBC Connecticut, Fox News and the Associated Press. Piquet disagrees with Chester officials who say the burial at home violates zoning regulations.

Piquet buried her husband of 22 years behind their farmhouse with the help of a licensed funeral director, the stories say. She opted for the home burial because all of the cemeteries in Chester were full.

An appeals court had ruled Piquet failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, and the courts had no jurisdiction to hear her suit seeking a declaratory judgment. Piquet had argued the court had jurisdiction because her case was about the validity of zoning rules. But the court said her brief had asserted instead that the case was about a zoning officer’s interpretation of the rules.

“This court is concerned with substance, not labels, and for that reason relabeling an argument does not change the legal issue any more than baking shoes in an oven changes them into bread,” the appeals court said.

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