After Toni and Ed Allen lost their son, Brien, in May of last year, they decided to mourn him with something called the Bronze Memories Service Package from Restland Funeral Home on St. Paul Street.
As funeral packages go, "Bronze Memories Service Package" sounds like the sort of thing that should include trumpets, or fireworks, or maybe a flyover. But according to a lawsuit filed in Dallas County Court last week (and on display below), Restland instead provided their son a disastrous send-off that included eye-rolling from staff and frequent interruptions by people using the bathroom.
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The suit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, asks for unspecified damages for what the family calls fraud, negligence and deceptive practices. I have a call into Restland and will update this with its response. In the meantime, among the things that went wrong, according to the Allen family:
* Several funeral attendees noticed that Restland employees rolled their eyes at the Allens and their guests, and overall appeared put upon to extend the simplest of courtesies to the family.
* Pursuant to the agreements between the Allens and Restland, Brien's casket was to be opened for family visitation only at 5:30 p.m. prior to the funeral services. No one from Restland assisted the Allens following the visitation, and if Mr. Allen had not tracked down a Restland employee then Brien's casket would have remained open all night.
* Restland employees refused to allow the Allens to place a crucifix on Brien's casket during the funeral services.
* The visitation room provided by Restland was in a direct pathway to the restroom. The Allens' final moments with Brien were disrupted by a parade of other Restland customers en route to the restroom.
* Flowers sent to the funeral home on behalf of Brien were placed in the wrong visitation room away from the Allens' room.
* At the cemetery, Restland's representatives again treated the Allens with disrespect, first by asking the pall bears to help "unload" Brien's casket, and then by misspelling Brien's name on the temporary grave marker.
* Unbelievably, Restland has continued its mistreatment of the Allens, even though Restland has full knowledge that the Allens have been dissatisfied with the way Restland has handled Brien's funeral. Specifically, Brien's grave site has been severally neglected by Restland staff. Other grave sites are kept clean and well groomed. Brien's grave site has become a collection point for garbage and leaves, and generally looks terrible.
* Finally, the Allens selected a headstone for Brien's grave, only to be told by Restland that the Allens cannot place their chosen headstone on Brien's grave because of Restland's restrictions. The headstone that the Allens want to use is not unlike other headstones that are located a few yards away from Brien's grave site. Prior to telling the Allens that they cannot place their chosen headstone on Brien's grave, Restland never told the Allens about any restriction on headstones, or that there were any requirements at all relating to headstones.