A Monterey Park woman who said the Los Angeles County coroner’s office cremated her baby daughter’s body in 2016 without notifying her beforehand, thwarting her desire to give the infant a Catholic burial, is entitled to $605,000 in damages, a jury decided Friday.

The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for about a day before finding in favor of Yvette Diaz in her negligence lawsuit against Los Angeles County. The total award was $1.1 million, but the jury apportioned responsibility at 55 percent against the county and 45 percent against Diaz, meaning the county will not have to pay the full amount.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Eseigbe Omofoma said the jury “took the case very seriously and hopefully it brings about change in the coroner’s office.”

Diaz’s daughter, Auroanne Delatorre, died at a hospital a day after her birth on May 27, 2016. The infant’s body was brought to the coroner the next day and cremated on Aug. 10, 2016, according to Diaz’s suit.

Diaz, who is Catholic, wanted an open-casket funeral for the baby. She also alleged the coroner’s office waited almost two weeks to perform an autopsy, preventing the cause of her daughter’s death from being ascertained because the baby’s brain was partially liquified.

Omofoma said the simple step of sending a registered letter to Diaz notifying her that she had to act within 30 days or the baby would be cremated would have kept the parties out of court. He said Diaz’s acknowledgement that she received a letter from the coroner’s office notifying her the cremation had already taken place showed she likely would have seen any correspondence sent earlier advising her of the 30-day deadline to make a decision about the child’s body.

“This is something she’ll never get over,” Omofoma said during his final argument Thursday.

Lawyer Jack Schuler, on behalf of the county, said he sympathized with Diaz for what she has endured. But Schuler told jurors that anyone in Diaz’s position would have been checking every way possible to find out the status of the infant’s body. He said Diaz deserved no damages, but that if the jury was inclined to award any, they should apportion responsibility to Diaz at 90 percent.

In her testimony, Diaz said she suffered severe emotional distress after her daughter’s death and used her cell phone for limited purposes. She said she relied on her brother to tell her about what she received in the mail.

Diaz said she has not tried to get her baby’s ashes from the coroner’s office, saying the facility is “filthy” and that the remains could be those of someone else.

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