Tag Archives: NYSE:SCI

Many Are Calling Newspaper Ad From Funeral Corporation SCI Misleading

A former well-known name in Austin funeral service has stirred up more than just a few Texans with an open-letter many are saying is misleading. Charles Walden, a former funeral home owner, allowed his name to appear in an advertisement (disguised to look like an open-letter) placed by Houston-based funeral corporation, Service Corporation International.

The advertisement appeared in the May 26th edition of the Austin American Statesman. In the ad, Walden attempts to convince Austin readers that the local chain of Cook-Walden Funeral Home locations are the same now as they have been for the last 100 years. The advertisement has drawn sharp criticism, as many are claiming to be simply misleading. Cook-Walden originally had just one funeral home 40 years ago. It is now owned by Service Corporation International (SCI)-the largest funeral home and cemetery chain in the world.

According to the history of Cook-Walden funeral services published at its own website, in the late 1800s a funeral home was opened in downtown Austin by Samuel E. Rosengren. In 1920, Charles B. Cook purchased that business. In 1971, Charles Walden purchased Cook Funeral Home. The name was changed to Cook-Walden. Shortly thereafter, Charles Walden bought two adjacent cemeteries in the Pflugerville area. In 1985, he bought Davis Funeral Home in Georgetown, then Forest Oaks funeral and cemetery in 1992. The two funeral homes at the Pflugerville cemeteries location and on Hwy. 183 at Anderson Mill were built more recently.

In 1997, Cook-Walden sold all of its operations to SCI. The recent open letter in the Statesman claims that in 1993 the Cook-Walden chain joined the Dignity Memorial(R) network (a registered service mark of SCI). But Cook-Walden could not have joined the Dignity Memorial(R) network until 2004 because that network did not exist until then, and that network is used only by SCI-owned facilities.

Charles Walden has claimed to provide some consulting services, since the 1997 purchase by the corporation. However, most people are unclear on his exact involvement.

Another local news column and a social media website, Connecting Directors, has taken issue with the advertisement and pointed out the historical inaccuracies as well as a growing number of online forums where current and former employees of the company are expressing their opinions.

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Widow Suing Houston-Based Funeral Corporation, SCI, for $16M for Gross Misconduct

Nashville, Tennessee

Conduct of national company’s local workers called ‘outrageous, grossly negligent’.

A Nashville woman is seeking $16 million in damages for alleged “outrageous, grossly negligent, indecent, reckless” conduct by a death care services provider.

Sharon McNabb filed suit against SCI Tennessee Funeral Services (Houston-based Service Corporation International) (NYSE:SCI) in Davidson County Circuit Court this week, claiming the company’s local workers botched burial arrangements for her deceased husband and “talked her into” cremating his body.

According to the complaint, Andrew Raymond McNabb had purchased a plot at Woodlawn Memorial Park from Woodlawn Funeral Home in 1989. After his death on Dec. 17, Sharon arranged for a Dec. 20 viewing and Dec. 21 service at Eastland Funeral Home before the interment at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

The arrangements were proceeding according to plan until SCI workers notified the McNabb family — during the funeral service — that they in fact had no burial plot at Woodlawn and said the “best thing” to do was cremate the body. According to the complaint, McNabb consented, though she was “completely distraught” and “heavily sedated” at the time.

Then, more than a week after the cremation, McNabb received a notice from the Tennessee National Guard War Records Section that her husband was a veteran and was eligible for burial at the VA Cemetery — notice that SCI had received the day before the funeral.

“Instead of telling her that he could be buried in a VA Cemetery, SCI staff talked her into letting them cremate him for a fee, when at the time it should have been obvious that she was suffering from great emotional distress,” the complaint reads. “This conduct was outrageous, grossly negligent, indecent, reckless, and willful and the kind that is not tolerated by civilized society.”


Judge Sanctions Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) For Evidence Tampering In Cemetery Case

Los Angeles, California

A Los Angeles judge has sanctioned Houston-based Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI), owner of Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills, after finding that the cemetery intentionally tampered with and destroyed evidence related to a class action lawsuit alleging that Eden mishandled human remains.

Judge Anthony J. Mohr of the Los Angeles Superior Court ordered that the plaintiff’s attorney will be allowed to present evidence to the jury showing that SCI willfully tampered with evidence, and the judge will inform jurors that they may reasonably conclude that the destroyed evidence could have been damaging.

The allegations include that the cemetery broke concrete vaults to squeeze more graves into small spaces, and that when bones fell out of the broken vaults, groundskeepers were instructed to discard of the remains in the cemetery dump and  Eden secretly buried bodies in the wrong plots and misplaced or lost remains.


Funeral Giant Service Corporation International Suing Another Funeral Home Over Name Rights

Syracuse, New York

Fifteen years ago, one of the biggest funeral chains in North America added Syracuse to its empire by paying more than $6 million for Pirro & Sons, one of the area’s most prestigious and successful mortuaries.

As it does in other cities, Service Corporation International went on to snap up other area mom-and-pop funeral homes in Syracuse to add to its chain of more than 1,200 mortuaries.

Now the Pirros have split from SCI and one has started an independent mortuary, Thomas J. Pirro Funeral Home, in Salina. That move has sparked a fight between SCI and the well-known Syracuse family of morticians over the right to use the name “Pirro.”

“The biggest problem is: It’s confusing to consumers,” SCI spokeswoman Lisa Marshall said.

Pirro Jr., 39, a fourth-generation mortician, said customers are confused because they don’t know who they are dealing with when they call Pirro & Sons to arrange funerals.

“They don’t realize there are no Pirros there anymore,” he said. “People are calling, thinking they will get the Pirros and they aren’t.”


Massachusetts Dignity Memorial Provider (NYSE:SCI) Accused Of Trying To Conceal Burying Two Bodies In Wrong Cemetery


Another Scandal For SCI

 Brookline, Massachusetts

A state disciplinary board has ordered a Brookline funeral home to explain how they mixed up the burials of two bodies in August, burying one woman in the wrong grave, digging her up in time for her actual funeral  and then allegedly failing to tell one family about the mistakes. The Stanetsky Chapel is owned by Houston-based Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) and is a Dignity Memorial Provider.

The employees under investigation are company manager Kim Perry, embalmers and funeral directors Paul Glennon and Bruce Schlossberg, and apprentice embalmer Jane Salk.

Service Corporation International owns 1800 funeral homes nationwide. Company spokeswoman Lisa Marshall, speaking on behalf of the company and the four employees, said SCI is cooperating with the board. She also said that corporate policy bans her from discussing individual cases, but that she could speak in generic terms about the company’s procedures.

“We work very, very hard to ensure that mistakes don’t happen. We have very good policies, we have good training in place,” Marshall said. “We work with our employees to prevent mistakes. But, occasionally, a mistake happens. When that happens, our policy is to work with the families.”

However, family members are pointing out that they were not notified and that the funeral home attempted to conceal the “mistake.”


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