Eden Memorial Park Class Action

Sands v. Service Corporation International, et al.

What is this lawsuit about?

On September 10, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a Class Action Complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Los Angeles, CA, against Service Corporation International, SCI California Funeral Services, Inc., Eden Memorial Park Management Co., Eden Memorial Park Association, Eden Memorial Park and James R. Biby ("Defendants"). The Class Action Complaint relates to alleged misconduct at Eden Memorial Park, a Jewish cemetery located at 11500 Sepulveda Boulevard, Mission Hills, CA 91345.

The Complaint alleges that Defendants intentionally, willfully and secretly desecrated the human remains of certain deceased individuals interred at Eden Memorial Park and that Defendants had a pattern and practice of breaking concrete interment vaults with a backhoe, and then dumping and/or discarding (i.e. “throwing away”) the human remains, including skulls.  The Class Action Complaint further alleges that Defendants had a pattern and practice of plotting and selling interment areas without sufficient space to properly inter individuals in adjacent plots.  Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants, in an attempt to maximize profits:

  1. Secretly broke and opened interment vaults;
  2. Secretly dumped and desecrated human remains, including but not limited to skulls, from interment vaults that were improperly broken or opened, in order to cover up their wrongful acts;
  3. Secretly interred human remains in locations other than the plot in which the remains were to be properly interred;
  4. Secretly plotted and sold interment plots on top of already scattered human remains, and thereafter secretly interred the recently deceased on top of those scattered human remains;
  5. Secretly “lost” the human remains of individuals without disclosing to family members or others that the deceased was not in fact interred in his or her designated plot;
  6. Secretly interred individuals in the wrong plots;
  7. Intentionally, recklessly, and/or negligently misinformed family members of the deceased as to the state and condition of interment plots, vaults, interments, and human remains; and
  8. Intentionally, recklessly, and/or negligently published, disseminated, circulated and/or placed before the public, either directly or indirectly, statements that were untrue, deceptive and/or misleading regarding the business patterns and practices at Eden Memorial Park.

This is not the first time that Defendant SCI, the largest owner of cemeteries and funeral homes in the United States, has come under fire for similar conduct.  In 2003, the State of Florida brought criminal charges against company employees after groundskeepers at Menorah Gardens, another SCI owned and operated Jewish cemetery, testified to the accuracy of similar allegations.  SCI later paid millions of dollars to settle civil lawsuits brought by Attorney Ed Ricci’s law firm in connection with the case. Mr. Ricci of Palm Beach County, Florida is co-counsel in the Class Action.

To view Plaintiffs’ Current Class Action Complaint click here.