The office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today settlement of a 2016 lawsuit against Arkansas Funeral Care for shoddy funeral services.
The suit, filed in 2016, said the Jacksonville funeral home had failed to provide some services and had mishandled others, including a failure to refrigerate bodies that had not been embalmed. They were accused of shortcomings in transportation and delivery of death certificates. The failure to embalm bodies led to decomposition that prevented open casket services in some cases. Thirty-one bodies were removed from the home after the problem was discovered.
The settlement will provide for restitution to consumers who’ve not yet been compensated for complaints between Aug. 1, 2014, and Jan. 31, 2015. Some have been paid through a state regulatory agency and private suits. The owners of Arkansas Funeral Care also are barred from the funeral business and must pay $10,000 in a civil penalty, though the consent judgment says the state assumes that will be an uncollectable debt. The owners had already given up licenses and sold the funeral home to another operator.
Two of the owners of the business, Leroy and Rodney Wood, had earlier entered pleas on behalf of the business in criminal abuse of corpse charges in the case by accepting a finding of guilt for the business and a $50,000 fine. The agreement announced today represents the final judgment in that case. An employee of the home was acquitted of criminal charges.