SCI Cemetery Scandal — Multimillion-Dollar Award Upheld

grave digger

Photo Credit: Watsoninelgin

Siouxsie is on to SCI (the Walmart of funeral homes and cemeteries).  Previously, Siouxsie posted about the 350 bodies removed from their graves at SCI-owned  Menorah Gardens Cemetery in Palm Beach, Florida.  Here is another example of an SCI body moving scandal.

Last week, an intermediate appellate court in Texas upheld a multimillion-dollar judgment against SCI and SCI Texas Funeral Services because one of its cemeteries moved the body of the late Marcos Guerra from a grave site without permission (as reported here).

Apparently, the SCI-owned cemetery wanted to move Mr. Guerra’s body because the cemetery had double booked the lot.  The Guerras family refused to give permission to move the grave.  The SCI-owned cemetery decided to do it anyway.  Shortly thereafter, the Guerras family visited the grave and discovered that the dirt above Mr. Guerra’s grave had been disturbed.  The cemetery crafted some half-baked excuse that their staff moved the dirt over the grave to prepare for the holidays.  Not surprising, the family did not believe the story.  When the Guerras family conducted their own probe of the plot, they discovered that the coffin was no longer there.

Although the appellate court reduced exemplary damages from $4 million to $1.5 million, the appellate court upheld the $2.3 million awarded to the Guerras family for the mental anguish they sustained.

Siouxsie’s favorite part of the opinion is the court’s explanation as to the admissibility of SCI’s other wrongs (in other cases) including “wrongful burials, double sales of plots, desecration of remains and other . . . acts.”  The court reasoned that this evidence was appropriate because it countered SCI’s position that the Guerra grave switch was a one-time mistake.  The court held that the evidence demonstrated a pattern of wrongful conduct on the part of SCI.

Siouxsie could not agree more.

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~ by siouxsielaw on November 5, 2009.

4 Responses to “SCI Cemetery Scandal — Multimillion-Dollar Award Upheld”

  1. Why are these people allowed to conduct business?
    I read their company profile which said that between their cemeteries, flower shops, death accoutrements, and subsidiaries they manage to touch over 75 percent of the population in the USA alone.
    The article stated that they were associated with medical supplies. Maybe I misunderstood, but this sounds like a conflict of interest.
    When a business which mainly makes money from people dying gets into the medical field…I wouldn’t want to come into contact with any equipment they had a part in supplying or manufacturing.

  2. […] For those not familiar with SCI, it stands for Service Corporation International.  They are infamous for owning cemeteries that like to dig up graves to make more space for new customers.  They […]

  3. […] the worst offenders. In 2009, investigators discovered that a cemetery in Florida run by SCI was disinterring old graves, stacking the moldering coffins like cords of lumber in one corner of the property in […]

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