Nearly three years after the death of a Clark County boy who lost his battle with cancer, his headstone was finally installed ending a legal battle between the boy’s family and the cemetery.
The design of Barrett Fitzsimmons’ headstone was the subject of a “impasse” between his family and Myers Cemetery, where he was buried. In January, the family filed a lawsuit against the cemetery, claiming cemetery board members held secret meetings, altered documents, and placed hidden cameras during the dispute over approval of Barrett’s headstone design, court records showed.
Now after a five month battle, the concrete foundation has been poured and a headstone marking the boy’s grave has been installed, allowing the family to properly mourn their son.
Barrett was two months shy of his 10th birthday when he died in May 2019 after a three-year battle with a rare childhood cancer.
Before this week, his grave was marked with a metal t-rex cutout and a “Barrett Strong” poster.
In December, Barrett’s parents Brad and Lana Fitzsimmons told News Center 7′s John Bedell they had been told the cemetery denied the gravestone’s design because it had too many images. The family later filed the lawsuit in January seeking an order for the cemetery to pour the concrete foundation for the gravestone and have it installed.
Now the lawsuit has been resolved.
“The Fitzsimmons family is relieved that the lawsuit has been successfully resolved. The concrete foundation at Barrett’s burial site has been poured and the memorial designed by the family has been installed,” Nathan Stuckey, the attorney representing the family said in a statement.
“The Fitzsimmons family is grateful to all of those in the community who have shown support during this difficult process.”
“I think all the parties are happy that they were able to resolve the dispute,” Belinda Barnes, Columbus-based attorney who represented the defendants in the case, including the Myers Cemetery Association, said in a statement to News Center 7′s John Bedell.
During the legal proceedings, one of the defendants listed in the lawsuit, Doug Miller, who was the president of the Myers Cemetery association’s board of trustees died about a month after this lawsuit was filed. His obituary states he died in February.
Also during the legal proceedings, the Fitzsimmons family noted storage fees they were facing for storage of the completed headstone while the dispute and eventual legal battle were ongoing. Those storage fees have also been waved by the monument company Set N’ Stone in Urbana, according to Stuckey.
The installation of the headstone not only brings an end to this legal battle, but also brings something Barrett’s family said they’ve been seeking all along.
“We want to go to the cemetery and we want to grieve, like everyone else,” Brad Fitzsimmons said in a December interview.