The law is the law. Once the paperwork has been filed, and all the appropriate authorities have signed off on a decision, having it reversed can be very difficult. And if that paperwork happens to be a death certificate, well...
The "living" man is named Constantin Reliu, and he's been going through a surreal experience.
Reliu, 63 years old, worked as a cook in Turkey for 20 years before returning to his home country of Romania. You know how it is when you come back home after years away: everything's changed! There are different shops, people have moved, you're dead–it's one hassle after another!
It turns out that while Reliu was away, his wife had him registered as dead. You'd think that kind of problem would be easy to correct but...well...you'd be wrong.
After a court in Vaslui refused to overturn his death certificate because his request was filed "too late," Reliu described his situation to the Associated Press:
I am a living ghost. I am officially dead, although I'm alive. I have no income and because I am listed as dead, I can't do anything.
Reliu is now banned from returning to Turkey and has trouble finding work due to his diabetes, which makes finding money to file a lawsuit a perplexing problem no matter how alive he is.
The Reliu family isn't on the best of terms.
Constantin left Romania for Turkey in 1992, and returned three years later to discover his wife's alleged infidelity. To be fair, his wife couldn't be reached for her side of the story, and three years is a long time to be away, especially before the days of Skype. In 1999, he once again traveled to Turkey–this time with no intention of returning.
It turns out that was his wife's intention as well. Constantin told the Associated Press:
I am not sure whether I am divorced or not. I am not sure whether she is married to someone else or not. Nobody will tell me.
In December 2018, Reliu was deported back to Romania after being detained by Turkish authorities over expired papers.
Romanian authorities met him at the airport and, using an old passport photo and trivia about his hometown, were able to confirm he was, in fact, him. But bureaucrats in Barlad, Romania, were harder to persuade. They refused to issue him papers stating he was who he was, then refused to overturn his death certificate on "procedural grounds."