Funeral Consumers Alliance Files Class Action Lawsuit
against Funeral Conglomerates and
Largest Casketmaker for Antitrust Violations

May 2, 2005

The Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc. (FCA), on behalf of its roughly 400,000 members and a nationwide class of consumers, has filed a lawsuit in federal court in California seeking to stop the country's three largest funeral homes chains and the nation's largest casketmaker from shutting out competition and fixing casket prices at artificially high levels. The suit was filed against funeral conglomerates Service Corporation International, Alderwoods Group, Inc., Stewart Enterprises, Inc., and Batesville Casket Company. The suit seeks to prevent the defendants from boycotting independent casket discounters and from raising casket prices through price-fixing agreements.

Joining FCA in the suit are several individual consumer plaintiffs, who seek damages on behalf of all consumers who purchased Batesville caskets from the funeral home defendants.

"For years, funeral homes have conspired to artificially inflate casket prices," said Joshua Slocum, executive director of FCA. "We expect this lawsuit will put an end to these conspiracies, that it will bring free and fair competition to the casket market, and that consumers will be compensated for the damage this behavior has wrought."

FCA and the consumer plaintiffs allege:

If successful, the lawsuit will end these anti-competitive and anti-consumer practices so grieving families can enjoy substantially lower prices and greater choices for caskets. The lawsuit will also allow the consumer plaintiffs to recover the overcharges that consumers of Batesville caskets have been made to pay.

The plaintiffs are represented by Constantine Cannon, an antitrust law firm with offices in New York and Washington, D.C.

The Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc. (FCA) is a nonprofit organization that provides consumer education and information about the funeral industry and alternatives to traditional funerals. Its network includes more than 100 affiliated consumer groups (often known as memorial societies) with a total of approximately 400,000 individual consumer members.

For Additional Information

This article was posted on August 20, 2004

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