Woman Declared Dead

A French woman named Jeanne Pouchain has been dealing with a strange problem. Since 2017, she’s been officially declared dead. She has been trying to prove that she is in fact alive.

The 58-year-old woman says she lives in constant fear. She resides in the village of Saint Joseph. She is scared to even leave her house.

Pouchain’s status has prevented her and her husband, who is her legal beneficiary along with her son, from using their joint bank account. Being declared dead has also deprived her of other necessities.

“I no longer exist,” Pouchain said. “I don’t do anything….I sit on the veranda and write.” She said the situation is “macabre.”

Pouchain was declared dead due to a 2017 Lyon court decision. The decision came after a legal dispute with an employee of Pouchain’s former cleaning company. The employee was seeking compensation after losing her job 20 years ago.

The emplotyee’s initial complaint in France’s Prudhomme workers’ court misfired. A series of legal proceedings, decisions, and appeals followed. The case made its way to the Court of Cassation, France’s highest court. The case was dismissed there for being outside its domain, according to Pouchain and her lawyer, Sylvain Cormier.

According to Pouchain and her attorney, judicial errors caused the Appeals Court of Lyon to declare Pouchain as deceased.

Pouchain’s husband and son were left with an order to pay 14,000 euros ($17,000) to the former employee.

Cormier filed an unusual motion last Monday to invalidate the 2017 decision by the Lyon appeals court due to a “grave error” by the judges. He said he has never before dealt with such a “crazy” case.

“At first, I had a hard time believing my client,” Cormier said.

Pouchain says she will not forgive her ex-employee.

Cormier blames judges and their “extreme reticence to repair their error.”

“When an error is so enormous, it’s hard to admit,” he said.

Pouchain is hopeful that her attorney will successfully get the judgement overturned.

“It’s my last chance to recover my life,” she said.

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