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Los Angeles Superior Court

This class action involved a suit by parties whose family members were buried in a California cemetery. The defendant was accused of breaching their burial vaults in violation of their contracts. The matter was resolved via settlement.

Eden Memorial Park Cemetery is a Jewish Cemetery in Mission Park, California owned by the defendant SCI California Funeral Services Inc. Eden requires all decedents’ remains buried in the ground to be placed in cement outer burial containers. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit alleged that between February 7, ________, and September 10, ________, the employees at Eden were ordered by management to make new graves fit, even when it required breaking outer burial containers in adjacent graves. In doing so, the damaging of burial vaults occurred with a frequency in excess of the accepted industry standard for the cemetery industry.

The plaintiff further charged that in some cases, the decedents’ remains were disturbed and/or disposed of improperly in spoils piles, along with the broken pieces of the outer burial containers and caskets. The plaintiffs asserted that several sections of Eden (Garden of Eden, Canaan, Hebron, Mt. Shalom Lawn Crypts, and the Court of Abraham Lawn Crypts) were located atop areas previously used as spoils piles, making those people buried there buried atop areas where human remains were improperly discarded.

The plaintiffs, Robert S., and other persons with relatives buried at the defendant cemetery, filed suit in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles. They named as defendants, Service Corporation International and its affiliated company, SCI California Funeral Service Corporation International and its affiliated company, SCI California Funeral Services Inc. The defendants were accused of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligence; Tortious Interference with Right to Dispose of Remains, Tortious Interference with Dead Bodies, Violations of Business and Prof. Code §________, Violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Equitable and Injunctive Relief, Fraud/Concealment/Non-Disclosure and Continuing and Permanent Nuisance.

The plaintiffs sought monetary remedies and injunctive relief to prevent the alleged conduct from occurring in the future. A class was later certified to encompass all those likewise affected, with the plaintiffs remaining in the suit as individuals, as well as in representation of the class. The defendants denied all allegations, contending that their business meets or exceeds industry standards and protocols for the operation of a cemetery.The suit was resolved with a settlement of $80.5 million for the class, as well as permanent requirements and measures at Eden Memorial Park Cemetery. Various SCI insurance carriers will contribute $________ million to that fund with SCI funding the balance.

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