Alderwoods’ suit against David Riemann dropped

Published 11:31 pm Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Riemann family is back in business, having repurchased the funeral home operation it previously sold to Alderwoods Group Inc.

The family also said Friday that a lawsuit brought by Alderwoods against David Riemann for opening Gulf Coast Funeral Home, a competing business in Gulfport and Pass Christian, has been dropped.

Alderwoods was known as Loewen Group International when it bought Riemann Funeral Homes in the late 1980s for just under $5.6 million.

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The company kept the Riemann name and employed members of the family until Sept. 30 when Chad Riemann, his father David, his uncle Michael and several other employees resigned.

Alderwoods contends that by starting the new funeral home the Riemanns violated an agreement not to compete against their company. It asked a federal judge to shut down the new business. The lawsuit had not gone to trial.

Riemann Funeral Homes and Gulf Coast Funeral Homes will continue to operate on the Coast. The family now has four locations in South Mississippi and plans to open one in Long Beach in July.

“Our family is certainly excited about the opportunity to repurchase our family business,” said David Riemann, who is rejoining the business as chairman of the board. “We are happy to carry on the tradition we’ve created over the past four generations.”

Alderwoods Mississippi, a subsidiary of the company, was the seller on the deal.

In 2006, Service Corporation International of Houston, Texas, North America’s largest funeral home and cemetery provider, acquired Alderwoods for $1.2 billion.