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Fort Lauderdale Cemeteries Accused of Wrongdoing

A $200 million lawsuit alleged gross misconduct at a well-known Jewish cemetery in Florida.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Palm Beach Circuit Court, alleges that two cemeteries misplaced human remains, buried individuals in the wrong graves and improperly disposed of burial containers, the Sun Sentinel reported. The two cemeteries named in the suit are Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery and Funeral Chapel and the Bailey Memorial Gardens, two adjacent cemeteries in North Lauderdale that are both owned by the Texas-based Service Corporation International.

In 2001, a suit against SCI also alleging problems at a Jewish cemetery in Florida led to a $100 million settlement.

Michael Avenatti, the lead attorney for two plaintiffs based in California, told the Sun Sentinel he expects the magnitude of the current problem will ultimately dwarf previous claims against SCI. Avenatti said that he has documents, photographs and video evidence to corroborate his claims against the company, though he would not say what spurred the investigation.

“It’s self-evident that families that bring their loved ones to be buried at any cemetery expect their loved ones remains to be treated with dignity, respect and the utmost care,” he said.

A spokesperson for SCI declined to comment to the Sun Sentinel.

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