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Trial in lawsuit alleging mishandled burials set to begin

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A lawsuit accusing funeral homes of knowingly sending bodies to a Tennessee cemetery where burials were mishandled and bodies were lost is set to begin.

Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday 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.

The lawsuit claims more than a dozen Memphis-area funeral homes are liable financially because they failed to carry out their “sacred and contractual duties” for relatives who expected their loved ones to be laid to rest with dignity.

The funeral homes deny allegations including breach of contract and negligence. They argue that they are not liable for the cemetery’s actions.

The lawsuit seeks damages that will likely range into the millions of dollars.