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Judge issues injunction in cemetery case

Thursday, September 15, 2005

SIKESTON - A court order will keep money and other assets from the Garden of Memories and Memorial Park cemeteries from being sent elsewhere while the lawsuit against the cemeteries' owners is decided.

During a hearing Wednesday, Circuit Judge David Dolan ordered a preliminary injunction to prevent the transfer of assets from the Garden of Memories and Memorial Park cemeteries in Sikeston and the Forest Hills Cemetery in Morley outside the ordinary course of business, according to Joseph C. Blanton Jr., who is one the lead counsels for the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

Blanton said the injunction is similar to the temporary restraining order previously obtained to keep the defendants from diverting funds but "doesn't have the 15-day time limit that a TRO has."

This request for the injunction is part of a class action lawsuit filed by the Sikeston law firm Blanton, Rice, Sidwell, Nickell, Cozean and Collins LLC on Aug. 25 on behalf of Charles Ulmer, Charles DeWitt and Genie Rice against the companies and individuals associated with the ownership and operation of the three cemeteries.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants have failed to maintain the cemetery as obligated while presenting itself as a perpetual care cemetery with an endowed care and maintenance fund.