LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eagan Avenatti, LLP announces that the California Supreme Court has refused to set aside a lower court decision certifying a class action in a mass grave desecration lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, against publicly traded Service Corporation International (“SCI”). The lawsuit alleges that SCI and its employees purposely desecrated hundreds of Jewish graves and improperly disposed of human remains and bones in mass graves located in “dump areas” of Eden Memorial Park cemetery in Los Angeles. Sands v. Service Corporation International, et al., Case No. BC421528. The damages in the case are expected to exceed $500 million.
In particular, the lawsuit alleges that groundskeepers were repeatedly instructed by cemetery management to secretly break concrete vaults with a backhoe and remove, dump and/or discard the human remains, including human skulls, to make room for new burials, all in the interest of increased profits. According to the Complaint, the Defendants took considerable steps to conceal their fraudulent actions by threatening employees and witnesses with retaliation and the loss of their jobs. The lower court previously sanctioned SCI in the case after SCI employees were caught on videotape tampering with and destroying evidence. Anderson Cooper reported on the lawsuit on 60 Minutes earlier this year.
In an En Banc decision received today, the Supreme Court denied SCI’s attempt to have the lower court’s decision overturned. As a result, the case will proceed to trial and tens of thousands of Jewish families will have the opportunity to seek damages against SCI for the company’s fraud and deceit
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision and look forward to trying this case to a jury,” said lead attorney Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti, LLP, the lead law firm representing the families. “The verdict in this case may rightly cause the bankruptcy of SCI and completely wipe out all equity in the company.”
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 the company after groundskeepers at Menorah Gardens, another SCI owned and operated Jewish cemetery, testified to the accuracy of similar allegations. SCI later paid well in excess of $100 million to settle civil lawsuits that followed.
For more information about the lawsuit, please visit www.edenclaims.com.
About Eagan Avenatti, LLP
Michael J. Avenatti, Esq. is a founding partner of Eagan Avenatti, LLP, a firm of trial attorneys that specialize in litigating a variety of high profile legal disputes in courts throughout the United States. Avenatti and the firm are consistently ranked among the best attorneys in America.