LOS ANGELES — A woman is suing Inglewood Park Cemetery, alleging her mother’s remains were removed and relocated without her permission to create more space for additional burials.
Jearlean Fisher’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also alleges that the cemetery management told her she would have to pay a large “fabricated” outstanding balance if she wanted to be buried next to her mother, even though she had previously reached an agreement with the park for such an arrangement.
Fisher, 82, alleges intentional interference with an interred body, mishandling of human remains and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The suit filed June 17 alleges the cemetery, facing limited capacity, removed the remains of Fisher’s mother and others and secretly transferred them to a different location in the park in order to sell more interment sites for financial gain.
She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A woman who answered the phone at the cemetery declined comment.
“We wouldn’t talk to the press about that,” she said.
According to the lawsuit, Fisher’s mother, Agnes Williams, died May 3, 1998, at age 94. Three days later, Fisher signed papers for Inglewood Park Cemetery to conduct funeral and burial services and inter her mother in a double-interment crypt, the suit states.
“It was critically important to Fisher and her mother … that when the time came Fisher and her mother would rest in peace, side-by-side, for eternity,” the suit says.
Inglewood Park Cemetery Vice President Cheryl Lewis notified Fisher four months ago that her mother’s remains were disinterred, according to the plaintiff.
“IP Cemetery admitted to Fisher they failed to contact Fisher before they disinterred her mother’s remains, admitted they failed to contact Fisher before they re-interred her mother’s human remains to a different site and admitted they failed to secure Fisher’s prior express approval and consent,” the suit alleges.
Fisher demanded that her mother’s remains be returned to their original location, but was told that was not possible, the suit said. The refusal was an “admission that [the] site had already been re-sold to unrelated third parties for financial gain and profit,” the complaint alleges.
Rather than comply with Fisher’s demand, the cemetery instead demanded that she pay “an imaginary, concocted and manufactured outstanding debt” if she wanted to be interred next to her mother, even though the plaintiff had obtained such an agreement more than a decade earlier, the suit alleges.
“IP Cemetery further threatened Fisher that if some other third party paid the outstanding debt they could be interred with Fisher’s mother, in Fisher’s place, contrary to the May 1998 agreement, with their name added on the marker next to Fisher’s mother,” the suit alleges. “Fisher was in shock. … Fisher was devastated.”
Inglewood Park Cemetery is the resting place of former Mayor Tom Bradley, singer Ray Charles, actress Betty Grable and lawyer Robert Kardashian.