A $200 million class action lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that a North Lauderdale Jewish cemetery has been desecrating burial plots for years.
Service Corporation International (SCI)’s cemetery Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery has lost human remains, buried bodies in the wrong graves, crushed burial containers, secretly dug up human remains and moved them without notifying families, and improperly disposed of burial effects in a lake located at the edge of the cemetery, according to a release by filing law firm Eagan Avenatti, LLP.
“Cemeteries are supposed to provide dignity to the dead and peace to the families,” said attorney Michael Avenatti. “The moving of human remains and dumping of burial containers with management’s knowledge is simply despicable.”
The lawsuit claims that SCI employees were instructed to move bodies or crush up remains to make more room for new burials, threatened with their jobs in order to secure their silence.
The suit is not the first time SCI has been accused of outrageous disregard for the dead. Most notably, 350 people previously sued the company in 2001, alleging overselling, misplacing burial plots, and digging up and scattering remains at SCI's Menorah Gardens locations in Broward and Palm Beach counties. SCI settled in 2009 with a $100 million payment to be split among families depending on the level of desecration.
In 2009, another suit began with the same allegations against SCI's Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, California, followed by claims that the company has destroyed evidence related to the case. The lawsuit is still pending.
Most recently, a lawsuit filed by a Tamarac widow seeks damages from SCI after a Star of David worker stole $327 from her home when he came to collect her husband’s body. The money was found in the worker's van.
WATCH: Another cemetery under investigation: