Circuit Judge Art Wroble released a ruling today from his chambers that will allow the family of David Wolff to amend their lawsuit against Menorah Gardens and its parent corporation SCI to include punitive damages. The family is represented by attorney Ted Leopold partner in the law firm of Leopold Law, P.A.
Leopold requested in an amended complaint filed in May that Judge Wroble rule that would allow the family to amend their complaint against Menorah - SCI to include punitive damages, which in addition to requesting compensatory damages, would seek damages against Menorah-SCI for their outrageous conduct of digging up David Wolff years after his burial and moving the remains to an unmarked grave, all without the family's knowledge or approval.
More than 60 area families represented by Leopold and the firm of Leopold Law, P.A. have filed suit against Menorah Gardens SCI.
Diane Wolff was a resident of Palm Beach County and purchased plots at Menorah Gardens for her deceased husband, David and herself. Mr. Wolff died in 1997 and was buried in the Garden of Israel, row 39, space 58 - Mrs. Wolff's plot was space 59. Sometime after David Wolff's burial at Menorah Gardens, Menorah disinterred his remains and moved them away from the original gravesite without the surviving family's knowledge or permission. To compound Menorah's reprehensible conduct, Menorah left David Wolff's footstone at the original gravesite. Mr. Wolff was disinterred and was placed in an unmarked grave. Unfortunately and to the family's horror they have been paying respects to an empty gravesite.
Michael Wolff is the surviving son and Randee Wolff Blumstein is the surviving daughter of Mr. Wolff. It was the intention of David Wolff and his spouse Diane Wolff to be buried next to one another in a along with two other relatives in a contiguous manner. These people purchased the plots specifically in that manner.
In December of 2003, Leopold and an investigative team from Leopold Law confirmed that SCI dug up and moved David Wolff to an unmarked gravesite. Leopold Law has also confirmed that the family's wishes of all one day being buried together are impossible. To make matters even worse, before David Wolff was improperly disinterred, SCI buried a non-family member, Samuel Golean, in between David Wolff and another member of his family interred at the Menorah Gardens.
We are pleased with Judge Wroble's ruling, and believe that a number of families have not only be defrauded by Menorah and SCI but continue to suffer severe emotional stress and trauma due to the egregious actions of the Cemetery and its parent corporation. The investigation continues. Steps are being taken. The facts are in front of us, and the evidence against SCI will continue to mount, as we proceed to trial. The Wolff family has been deceived and put in a position of considerable stress, trauma and sadness from what continues to occur. Permitting this suit to be amended to include punitive damages, we hope will send a clear message to SCI concerning their actions. Menorah's conduct has been outrageous and is shocking to this family, our community, as well as dozens of others who are suffering the consequences rather than those that perpetrated this matter.
The civil suit that Leopold Law has filed on behalf of the more than 60 families states a number of claims against Menorah Gardens/SCI which include secretly breaking and opening burial vaults and dumping remains in a wooded area where they may have been consumed by wild animals; burying remains in locations other than those purchased by families; crushing burial vaults in order to make room for other vaults; burying remains on top of the other remains rather than side-by-side; secretly mixing body parts and remains from different individuals' secretly allowing plots owned by one party to be occupied by a different person; secretly allowing graves to encroach on other plots; selling plots so narrow that the grave could not accommodate industry standard burial vaults; desecrating graves and markers while failing to exercise reasonable care in handling the plaintiff's loved ones remains.