Calif. Jewish cemetery accused of mishandling remains is sued a second time


(JTA) — A Jewish cemetery in Southern California accused of disturbing dead people’s remains is being sued for a second time.

Several dozen relatives of people buried at the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills filed a complaint Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging mass disturbances of their loved ones’ graves.

About 40,000 people, including comedians Groucho Marx and Lenny Bruce, are buried in the 72-acre cemetery.

The allegations include interference with dead bodies and with the right to dispose of remains, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud, the local CBS affiliate reported.

The cemetery’s employees have testified that every grave at Eden Memorial Park is at risk of being disturbed and its protective vault damaged, the lawsuit said, according to CBS.

Eden Memorial Park is owned and operated by SCI California, a subsidiary of the Texas-based Service Corporation International, the  largest operator of cemeteries and funeral services in the United States.

Company officials “have not seen the lawsuit and therefore cannot comment on it,” SCI spokeswoman Jessica McDunn said in a statement.

In March 2014, the cemetery agreed to a settlement worth about $80.5 million in a class-action lawsuit involving 25,000 claimants.

The lawsuit claimed that Eden Memorial Park, which is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the United States, instructed groundskeepers to “secretly break concrete vaults with a backhoe and remove, dump and/or discard the human remains, including human skulls, to make room for new interments.” The alleged incidents began as early as 1985.

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