Appeals court hears caskets dispute
NEW ORLEANS- The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday in a case pitting the state's funeral directors against an order of Roman Catholic monks who make and sell caskets.
Louisiana funeral board lawyer David Gruning said a statue that required caskets to be purchased from funeral homes should be reinstated because it shielded grieving people from "the trauma" of buying coffins that don't fit the area's burial spaces.
Scott Bullock, representing the monks of St. Joseph Abbey near Covington, contends the law was irrational unconstitutional. The monks, who manufacture wooden caskets, in 2010 launched a lawsuit that resulted in a federal judge striking down the state law. The funeral board wants the law reinstated.
Bullock argued the law unfairly forced Louisianians to buy caskets only from funeral homes.