Cemetery accused of stacking bodies could face another lawsuit - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Cemetery accused of stacking bodies could face another lawsuit

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Jefferson says state records show Galilee Memorial Gardens ran out of space to bury bodies back in 2010, and that the state was aware of the lack of available space. Jefferson says state records show Galilee Memorial Gardens ran out of space to bury bodies back in 2010, and that the state was aware of the lack of available space.
Angela Watkins' father, Marshall Howard, was buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens on June 22, 2013. She says she does not where his plot is located. Angela Watkins' father, Marshall Howard, was buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens on June 22, 2013. She says she does not where his plot is located.
Jefferson says his firm represents about 100 families. Jefferson says his firm represents about 100 families.
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A cemetery accused of stacking and losing bodies will soon face another lawsuit, according to an attorney who represents some of the family members.

"The operators of Galilee Memorial Gardens have taken away our clients' belief that their loved ones are at peace," attorney Elbert Jefferson said at a news conference.

Jefferson says his firm represents about 100 families.

He says he expects to file a complaint in Shelby County Chancery Court within 30 days and believes it will probably seek class-action status. That complaint would be separate and unrelated to a class-action lawsuit filed Sunday night on behalf of some other families. Whether one or both move forward or are combined will be up to a judge.

Three families joined Jefferson at his news conference.

Angela Watkins' father, Marshall Howard, was buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens on June 22, 2013. She says she does not where his plot is located.

"He was a hard-working man, stayed on the job for 47 years," Watkins says. "He was a husband to my mother, Mary Ellis. He took care of us. And he left us to take care of him, to see about him now. And we can't."

Charles Branch's mother, Pearlie Marshall, was buried at Galilee on February 18, 2012. Branch says he does not know where his mother's body is either.

"It's not about money to us," Branch said. "It's more about is my mother at rest? And she's not."

Jefferson says state records show Galilee Memorial Gardens ran out of space to bury bodies back in 2010, and that the state was aware of the lack of available space. Still, Jefferson says, Galilee continued to bury bodies, stacking many on top of each other, and sold about 200 pre-need plots after 2010.

Jefferson says this case is bigger than the owners and that his firm is analyzing which other defendants should be held accountable before filing a lawsuit.

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