3 Sue over Prepaid Cremation Contracts

Article excerpt

A Greensburg couple and a Scottdale funeral director have sued a Dauphin County cremation company alleging it unlawfully sold prepaid services to customers despite not being properly licensed by the state.

The lawsuit recently was filed by Robert Weber and his wife, Sylvia, of Greensburg, and Scottdale funeral director Robert B. Ferguson Jr. against Cremation Society Inc. of Harrisburg.

The Webers and Ferguson are seeking full restitution, plus interest, on money clients have paid the society to purchase "Pre- Need Cremation Contracts."

The lawsuit follows a decision last fall by Westmoreland Judge William Ober in a four-year-old lawsuit filed by Ferguson that Cremation Society, the state's oldest and largest cremation provider, operated illegally as an unlicensed funeral facility between 1981 and 2004. The lawsuit alleges the society, which is still operating, has 12,500 living holders of such contracts.

Ober delayed making a decision on the remedies of the original lawsuit in September in light of ongoing proceedings regarding Cremation Society in other venues. Ober noted that in 2004, after two state Supreme Court decisions on similar issues, the society did affiliate with Auer Memorial Home and Cremation Services Inc., also in Dauphin County. …