Florida Woman Must Pay for Damages After Corpse Explodes Above Her Apartment
Photo via FEMA
Back in 2008, an elderly woman's undiscovered body had decomposed so badly inside her apartment that it exploded. Fluid from the ruptured corpse began to seep through the floor and into the apartment below, which led the owner of that unit to sue her insurance company, claiming that it needed to pay for the damages.
The owner of the downstairs unit, Judy Rodrigo, had claimed that the Keystone Condominium Association failed to discover the dead woman and let the corpse fester, which led it to burst, leaking corrosive fluids into her apartment and the reeking stench of death that comes along with it.
And now, after six long years of legal battles, a Palm Beach County court ruled last week that Rodrigo's insurance policy did not, in fact, cover damage caused by bodily explosions.
The deceased elderly woman, who apparently passed away from natural causes, lived alone with her dogs. After she died, her body went undiscovered for two weeks before a noxious odor began to fill the adjacent units.
After complaints from neighbors, maintenance workers entered the apartment and found that the dogs had eaten her remains, according to Courthouse News.
The undiscovered body went through its normal decaying process and eventually bloated to the point that the gasses inside the corpse built enough pressure that it caused its abdomen to burst. This released gases and fluids, which is what leaked down into Rodrigo's apartment.
In her civil lawsuit against State Farm, filed to the 15th Circuit Court in Palm Beach, Rodrigo claimed that she had to spend her own money cleaning her unit and sought reimbursement.
"Another unit owner's body exploded thereby causing blood and bodily fluids to go into the adjoining condominium and the unit owned by Judy Rodrigo," the lawsuit read.
She apparently had to have the unit gutted. Even then, she claimed, the odor lingered.
Rodrigo asked State Farm to pay out her personal property damage coverage, but she was denied.
According to a report in the NY Daily News, a contractor with State Farm inspected Rodrigo's unit and approved an appraisal award. But Rodrigo rejected that award, saying she deserved full coverage for the damage.
State Farm claimed in court that it didn't cover for an exploded body and, as it turns out, the court ultimately agreed.
"The plain meaning of the term 'explosion' does not include a decomposing body's cells explosively expanding, causing leakage of bodily fluids," they court stated, per the New York Post.
The court went on to say that Rodrigo failed to establish that the woman's corpse was
"tantamount to an explosion."
Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Find out about upcoming events and special offers happening in South Florida.