McCune Wright Arevalo Files Class Action Against SCI Over Funeral and Burial Services
One of the most solemn and indeed sacred tasks we will ever undertake is in taking care of our family members’ remains when they pass on. And when we entrust the fulfillment of that caretaking process of departed family members to burial and interment services, we should expect that those service providers, at the very least, will make good on the obligations of their contracts. Service Corporation International (“SCI”), a leading provider of burial and interment services, and its subsidiary SCI Pennsylvania Funeral Services (“SCI Pennsylvania”) have repeatedly failed to do that.
It is alleged that SCI and SCI Pennsylvania have engaged in a pattern of business practices leaving family members with burial plots – often purchased decades in advance – either unavailable or too small, resulting in the separation of family member graves, cramming of burial spots, and unforeseen disinterment. In some cases, family members only discovered these issues on the day of burial. In response to these repeated violations, McCune Wright Arevalo and its co-counsel have filed a national class action as well as a Pennsylvania-based class action lawsuit against both companies on behalf of all affected individuals.
How SCI Violates the Law and the Trust of Family Members
The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit include a Pennsylvania woman who discovered in the summer of 2017 that her father – who had purchased a burial plot for himself and his wife in 1970 – could not be buried next to his wife (who had died in 2002) because the defendants had buried another person in his plot in 1991, without there ever being notification to the family until days before the funeral. The family was given three options: 1) disinter their mother; 2) bury their father in a different plot away from their mother; or 3) bury the father in a much smaller plot than had been purchased.
Another plaintiff in the suit purchased two burial plots for her and her mother in 1983 when her mother had died. Over 30 years after her mother was buried in one of the purchased plots, the plaintiff discovered that the defendants had sold the plot to another family. As a result, the plaintiffs only option was to disinter her mother after 30 years to receive her intended benefit of being buried next to her mother.
These are not isolated incidents, and, indeed, it is alleged that SCI has engaged in a pattern of similar behavior over the years, resulting in over $200 million in litigation payouts related to various cemeteries and interment services owned by the company (most of the services operate under different names). This pattern of behavior includes:
- Selling individual plots to different parties
- Failing to keep proper records of gravesites
- Burying coffins on top of one another in violation of agreements
- Burying coffins in the wrong spot
- Encroaching on existing plots
- Forcing coffins to be buried in much smaller plots than were sold
Contact McCune Wright Arevalo If You Believe You Have Been Affected
If you believe that you or a family member has been affected by the illegal business tactics used by SCI or SCI Pennsylvania – whether you are a resident of Pennsylvania or any other state – the class action attorneys at McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP may be able to help you get the recovery you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your circumstances.