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California cemetery to pay $35 million settlement

Feb. 28, 2014 at 8:15 AM   |   Comments

MISSION HILLS, Calif., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A California cemetery accused of damaging burial vaults and discarding human remains agreed to pay $35 million to thousands of families, officials said.

Eden Memorial Park cemetery employees allegedly admitted in a company memo the frequent practice of breaking burial containers to squeeze in as many graves as possible at the cemetery in Mission Hills, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Groundskeepers provided that information in a memo in 2007 but the company that owns Eden Memorial Park, Service Corporation International, denies any wrongdoing.

"It made economic sense to dispose of the case," said Steven Gurnee, who represented Service Corporation International in the case.

The settlement will go to families that wish to disinter loved ones as well as those that have purchased unused plots, the report said. Those who decide to keep their grave at the cemetery are also eligible to submit a claim, the Times reported.

The cemetery is also required to take measures that include the use of metal rods to determine where it's safe to dig and to give notice if damage to a burial vault is discovered.

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