Monks Take Fight Against Casket Cartel to Federal Court

April 13, 2011
Advertisement

imageNEW ORLEANS — A federal court will decide whether an order of Benedictine monks can make and sell caskets without a state license. The monks of St. Joseph Abbey in St. Tammany Parish sued in August, saying the Louisiana Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is attempting to maintain a “casket cartel” through regulation dominated by the funeral industry.

The regulators told the monks not to sell the caskets because they are not licensed funeral directors. The 36 monks of the 121-year-old abbey decided in 2007 to sell coffins with simple white cloth interiors for $1,500 to $2,000 to support the abbey, which does not receive funding from the Roman Catholic Church.

About 50 to 60 of the caskets were sold before the board, acting on a complaint filed by a funeral home, subpoenaed the order and threatened fines, lawyer Jeff Rowes of the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice has said. The monks tried to get an exemption from the regulations in 2008 and 2010, but legislators rejected the requests.

Advertisement

New Orleans CityBusiness reports the case will head to trial June 6 after U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval on Monday denied the board’s motion to dismiss the case.

“This ruling is a vindication of what we have been saying all along. Economic liberty is for everyone, including the monks of the abbey,” Abbot Justin Brown said in a statement.

The monks and the Institute for Justice assert that the state licensing requirement is solely to keep competition down in the lucrative casket sales business. Members of the board have countered that they are merely trying to uphold the law and ensure the quality of their industry.

Getting a funeral director’s license is no small task. State law requires at least 30 semester hours of college and a one-year apprenticeship during which the candidate must preside over at least 25 funerals. A funeral home license requires embalming by a licensed embalmer. Rowes has said the abbey does not intend to offer that service.

In Louisiana, the application fee to open a funeral business is $1,500. The cost is $250 for an embalmer’s or funeral director permit and $100 for funeral director apprentices.

Source

CDFuneralNews

CDFuneralNews

ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
CDFuneralNews
Advertisement

You may be interested

Studio Nienke Hoogvliet Designs Cremation Urn Using Plastic Derived From Wastewater
Cremation
163 views
Cremation
163 views

Studio Nienke Hoogvliet Designs Cremation Urn Using Plastic Derived From Wastewater

CDFuneralNews - December 14, 2017

Originally Published on Dezeen Studio Nienke Hoogvliet has harnessed a method of transforming wastewater into bioplastic, and used it to create a sustainable cremation…

ICCFA, Wilbert and Pierce Mortuary Colleges Partner to Offer Live Streaming Cremation Training
Funeral Industry Press Releases
80 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
80 views

ICCFA, Wilbert and Pierce Mortuary Colleges Partner to Offer Live Streaming Cremation Training

CDFuneralNews - December 14, 2017

STERLING, VA  – The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association has partnered with Wilbert and Pierce Mortuary Colleges to bring…

American Funeral Director Honors ‘Funeral Director of the Year’
Funeral Industry Press Releases
95 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
95 views

American Funeral Director Honors ‘Funeral Director of the Year’

CDFuneralNews - December 14, 2017

WALL, N.J. — Danny Jefferson, location manager at Pierce Jefferson Funeral & Cremation Services in Kernersville, North Carolina, has been…

Comments