Gansler calls for Jewish funeral ‘remedy’


Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler on Monday wrote to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, calling on the commission to “find a remedy” to a pending corporate funeral home merger that “will ensure the continuance of low cost Jewish funerals.”

The FTC is considering the merger of funeral giants Stewart Enterprises and Service Corporation International . Opponents are concerned because the combined company would control virtually all of the Jewish funeral business in the area. A Stewart-owned company, Hines Rinaldi Funeral Home, has a contract to provide traditional Jewish funerals for less than $2,000, and opponents believe that the combined company would have no incentive to renew the contract when it expires in 2014.

Gansler told Ramirez that a solution could be reached “either through the divestiture of Hines-Rinaldi [from the merger] or requiring SCI in a consent decree to extend the…contract for a significant period beyond June, 2016.”

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