Cases & Deals

Alderwoods wins summary judgment in employment discrimination lawsuit

Client(s) Alderwoods Group, Inc.

On September 21, 2009, Jones Day achieved a significant win for Alderwoods Group Inc. in a complex employment discrimination lawsuit in which plaintiffs, former funeral home employees, asserted they were subject to various forms of illegal discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act.

In a case which received national coverage in 2006, two plaintiffs brought action against Alderwoods alleging male employees sexually harassed female co-workers, charged higher funeral service prices to Jewish families, and discriminated on the basis of religious beliefs. Plaintiffs also contended that licensed female funeral directors were paid less than unlicensed male employees for performing equal work. Shortly after the case was filed, Alderwoods was purchased by Service Corporation International, which presented numerous challenges including the potential loss of witnesses and documents. Jones Day successfully maneuvered around those challenges to obtain dismissal of several claims at the motion to dismiss stage. Following discovery, Jones Day then secured summary judgment on behalf of Alderwoods, resulting in the dismissal of all claims by one plaintiff and leaving the remaining plaintiff with only one nominal claim.

Prise v. Alderwoods Group, Inc., C.A. 2:06-cv-1470-JFC (W.D. Pa.)