Family sues Live Oak Cemetery for being unable to locate grave

David Yates Apr. 28, 2008, 10:22am

Live Oak Cemetery on West Port Arthur Road

After years of ignored requests and pleas, the frustrated family of the late Clarence Walker has given up on Live Oak Cemetery ever being able to identify where their patriarch is laid to rest on its own accord, and filed suit against the troubled funeral home on April 25.

Controversy has engulfed Live Oak Cemetery for years, with several media outlets reporting on improper burials occurring at the Nederland cemetery.

In the case of Clarence Walker, his surviving spouse, Cynthia Walker who was married to Clarence for 43 years, purchased a plot on May 10, 2006, in section H for $1,542.50.

The day after Clarence Walker's funeral, his wife and children were unable to locate the plot where he was supposed to be buried, reads Cynthia Walker's suit, which was filed in the Jefferson County District Court.

"Representatives of Live Oak Cemetery told them that Mr. Walker may still be in 'storage,'" the suit says.

"In the days following, despite repeated requests, Live Oak Cemetery … was unable or unwilling to identify for Mrs. Walker and her children the plot location where Mr. Walker was buried."

Since his burial, Live Oak Cemetery has neglected to name Clarence Walker's plot, failing to provide any marker identifying his final resting place.

"Because of Live Oak Cemetery's inability to definitively identify the location of Mr. Clarence Walker, his family has been unable to purchase and place a headstone in memorial of him," the suit says.

"Further, the family has been unable to visit Mr. Walker at his final resting place since his funeral. His family, by virtue of Live Oak Cemetery's conduct, has been denied fellowship and visitation with Mr. Walker because it is not known definitively where he is buried."

"Live Oaks Cemetery knew (its) behavior would subject (Cynthia and her family) to severe emotional distress …," the suit says, adding that Cynthia is brokenhearted that she can not visit her husband of 43 years.

The suit continues by alleging Live Oaks Cemetery's conduct "was so extreme in degree" that it goes "beyond all possible bounds of decency," and is "to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."

The Walker family is suing for economic and exemplary damages, mental anguish and attorneys' fees.

They are represented by Barry C. Bennett of the Eddins & Bennett Law Firm.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E181-666

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