In June, 2021 Becerra & Associates filed a class action lawsuit against the Neptune Society. According to these accounts, California s Attorney General Xavier Becerra & three San Francisco Bay area district attorneys filed a complaint against the Neptune Society and their associated companies:
The complaint alleged that the defendant companies systematically and deliberately mismanaged remains in their client’s homes and failed to pay for in-house cremation services, which are required under state law.
In addition, the complaint contends that the defendants did not provide written policies addressing appropriate business practices with clients dealing with cremation services, such as how to properly handle remains and retain the remains. In addition to failing to obtain appropriate legal authorization to carry out specific business practices, Becerra & Associates contend that the defendants failed to make reasonable inquiries regarding the risks inherent in offering cremation services. In short, the lawyers charge that the defendants acted in an indifference to the standard business practices governing the handling of human remains, which resulted in the plaintiffs gaining substantial damages.
Cremation is often the preferred alternative to traditional burial, primarily because it provides family members with a unique memorial and final remembrance of the deceased.
However, many people wonder if they are properly protected under the law from wrongful death and are, therefore, entitled to a class action suit. The answer is that yes they are. Under the circumstances described in this particular class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs had indeed suffered a substantial injury as a result of the defendant’s carelessness and, as such, they were entitled to recover compensation for their loss.
The complaint further relates that the defendants failed to provide proper notice of cremation services and did not make adequate inquiry as to whether or not the full refunds could be offered to them as a result of their death.
While some may view this as a frivolous issue, the Neptune Society has a very real claim to make. Essentially, the issue revolves around the fact that cremation remains must be handled in a sanitary, accessible, and environmentally controlled environment. This may not always be an easy task, as many crematoriums cannot offer the plaintiff a refund due to the fact that the remains must be incinerated or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.
As such, the plaintiffs asked that their case be heard on the basis that they have a genuine issue of fact as a result of being unable to receive full refunds for cremations that did not meet the criteria for disposal as outlined by New Jersey law.
While the defendant’s counsel was not required to submit additional evidence or facts in support of their motion to dismiss, they were required to supply their d.b.a. address and any email information identifying them as the defendants. This information was submitted to the court at the time of filing the lawsuit.
Ultimately, this information was submitted to the court in the form of discovery so that a jury could determine if it was appropriate to award damages on the basis that the defendant failed to take reasonable steps to maintain a sanitary environment while holding the crematory operational.
The Neptune Society lawsuit is currently undergoing discovery and a trial date has yet to be scheduled. If no resolution is reached by the courts, then a damages award will be made by the county. However, if the jury concludes that the defendant did indeed take reasonable measures to ensure that cremation occurred in a sanitary and safe environment, the plaintiff is entitled to a damages judgment. Whether this case will result in damages or a jury verdict will depend largely on the extent of damage as well as the extent of negligence on the part of the defendant.