A class action lawsuit has been filed against the privately owned cemetery for allegedly mishandling $4 million that customers paid in advance for funerals and burial services. The lawsuit was filed in Marion Circuit Court in Indianapolis on behalf of residents of the state of Kentucky. Several thousand people have prepaid for caskets, vaults, and graves, and the money should have accumulated over the last 15 years. Under Indiana law, money paid such for funeral expenses must be disbursed only upon death.
The lawsuit alleges that the trust account should have accumulated about $4 million from payments by customers since 1992, when the current cemetery trust fund was established. But the account has dwindled to $100,000. The class action accuses former cemetery owners of failing to properly deposit some money collected for burials and funerals in the trust and also of illegally withdrawing funds. The banks breached their duty by permitting the money to be disbursed and by failing to maintain accounts detailing each individual's payments as required by law, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names River Valley Financial Bank, Friendship State Bank, Monroe Bank and National City Bank, which was formerly known as First of America Bank Corp. Also named as defendants are Carriage Cemetery Services, formerly known as Carriage Funeral Services of Indiana, Madison Funeral Service Inc., and the cemetery's current owners, Grandview Memorial Gardens LLC.