BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a lawsuit on Friday against a former South Hadley funeral home and its funeral director alleging the mishandling of human bodies and misappropriation of consumer deposits for future funeral arrangements.
The attorney general filed the suit in Hampshire Superior Court against Ryder Funeral Home Inc. and one of its owners, William W. Ryder. The suit alleges that the defendants collected pre-need deposits from more than 60 consumers but failed to establish funeral trust accounts or purchase pre-need insurance policies as stated in the contract. It is alleged that the deposits, totaling more than $342,000, were instead used for the defendants' own benefit.
Judge Daniel Ford granted a preliminary injunction on Friday prohibiting the defendants from performing funeral services, engaging in embalming or funeral directing and accepting consumer deposits. The judge also banned the defendants from destroying any records or dissipating assets.
The funeral home’s license was suspended in May after an inspector from the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure found that bodies were not being handled in accordance with state regulations. The defendants permanently surrendered their license in July without giving notice to consumers.