Class-action lawsuit filed over burial problems at Detroit cemetery

Lawsuit alleges gross negligence, fraud

According to authorities, 20 families contacted police over fears their loved ones were buried in the wrong place at Gethsemane Cemetery.
According to authorities, 20 families contacted police over fears their loved ones were buried in the wrong place at Gethsemane Cemetery.

DETROIT – Twenty families contacted police over fears their loved ones were buried in the wrong place at Gethsemane Cemetery, according to authorities.

Families knew something was wrong and they said the cemetery’s management wouldn’t give them a straight answer.



After three days of digging and investigating by police and the FBI, some families are moving forward with a class-action lawsuit against the city of Detroit -- which owns the property, a local church and two cemetery management companies.

The 18-page lawsuit claims officials at Gethsemane Cemetery:

  • Buried family members in plots different than those that were purchased by the families;
  • Willfully misrepresented where bodies had been buried;
  • Moved gravestones, grave markers and remains to burial plots different than the original resting place without consent or required permits;
  • Double-sold burial plots at Gethsemane Cemetery, or caused multiple deceased individuals to be buried in a single plot while letting those who purchased the plot to believe only on person would be buried there.

The lawsuit can be read in full below.

You can watch Shawn Ley’s story in the video above.


About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.