Jury rules families in Galilee Memorial Gardens case to receive $7,500


FILE – In this May 25, 2015, file photo, people visit Galilee Memorial Gardens cemetery near Memphis, Tenn. The Tennessee cemetery where caskets were crushed and stacked, remains were mishandled and bodies were lost, remains closed. But the dispute about who is to blame for the problems at the burial ground is still alive. Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in the trial pitting relatives of about 1,200 dead people against funeral homes accused of sending bodies to Galilee after the cemetery lost its registration in December 2010. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht, File)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Defendants in a case of botched burials at a Bartlett cemetery were ordered Tuesday to pay to the families of decedents.

On Monday, a jury found Galilee Memorial Cemetery 99 percent at fault for the burials. The other 1 percent was attributed to funeral home directors who worked with the Bartlett cemetery.

On Tuesday, the same jury returned to a Shelby County courtroom where they determined that each family would receive about $7,500.

The class-action lawsuit has nearly 1,200 plaintiffs. That means the full payout to the decedents' families should be about $9 million.

The plaintiffs had argued for $2.5 million-$5 million per body. Attorneys for the funeral homes argued for $5,000 per body.

After the jury's decision was read, several family members of those buried at Galilee were visibly upset, believing the decision was too low.

Investigations have revealed that the cemetery’s owners, the Lambert family, misplaced hundreds of bodies, buried multiple cadavers in the same grave and crushed caskets to fit them into single plots for years. Many people can’t find relatives’ graves.

Attorneys for both sides declined comment Tuesday, but said there would be further court rulings in the case.

WREG will keep you posted on how much money the families will actually see.


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