Eden Memorial Park has settled a class-action lawsuit for $35 million that accused it of digging up and dumping remains in order to reuse burial sites – though when all costs are included the total could reach $80 million, according to media reports on Friday.
The suit against the Mission Hills cemetery alleged it removed human remains over a period of 25 years. The $35-million settlement could affect 25,000 families with deceased loved ones interred at the cemetery.
The cemetery is owned by Service Corp. International of Houston, one of the largest companies in the funeral industry.
The settlement sets up a $35 million reimbursement fund for people who bought plots as well as those who want to remove the remains of deceased loved ones from the park. The sum also includes a $20,000 payment to each of the class representatives named in the suit.
The company also agreed to make changes to correct the problems, which could cost an additional $45 million, including the loss of potential future business, the Associated Press reported.
A spokeswoman for Service Corp. told the AP the company was pleased to end the litigation, which began in 2009. But the company’s lead attorney, Steve Gurnee, said that if Eden Memorial Park had fully defended itself, it would have been vindicated.