Apparently the family wanted the money back. Bad form, people.
When he [Orville Richardson] died in February 2009, Richardson's brother and sister buried him instead, having told him earlier that they would have nothing to do with his plan, court records show.This is clearly a breach of contract and the family should have honored Mr. Richardson's decision to freeze his own head. One honors their loved ones by abiding by their decisions (within the bounds of law and morality) after they are gone no matter how personally the family feels about such decisions.
Alcor learned of Richardson's death two months afterward, when his brother, David Richardson, asked the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company to refund the money already paid.
Iowa court: Exhume body so head can be frozen
From a practical point of view, I think this case is moot after 15 months of the body being in the ground, there would be no hope of re-animation in the future. From Alcor's website:
The Alcor Life Extension Foundation is the world leader in cryonics, cryonics research, and cryonics technology. Cryonics is the science of using ultra-cold temperature to preserve human life with the intent of restoring good health when technology becomes available to do so. Alcor is a non-profit organization located in Scottsdale, Arizona, founded in 1972.I doubt very much that Mr. Richardson could be restored to any sort of "good health".
Alcor Life Extension Foundation
I think the courts should have split the difference and let Alcor keep the money and the family keep Orville.
In the end, I don't think this will end up a money making deal for Alcor, with court costs, exhuming the body, etc. Although with the ruling it could end up the family forks over some expenses.
The family should have honored the man's wishes and shame on them for not doing so. The only winners in all of this are the lawyers.