July 21, 2011
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
ST. JOSEPH ABBEY, ET AL.
PAUL “WES” CASTILLE, ET AL.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
This matter came to trial on June 6, 2011. Before the Court was the issue of whether it is unconstitutional to require those persons who intend solely to manufacture and sell caskets be subject to the licensing requirements for funeral directors and funeral establishments. After considering all testimony and evidence presented at trial and the relevant law, the Court finds that this requirement is in contravention of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. There is no rational basis for the State of Louisiana to require persons who seek to enter into the retailing of caskets to undergo the training and expense necessary to comply with these rules. Simply put there is nothing in the licensing procedures that bestows any benefit to the public in the context of the retail sale of caskets. The license has no bearing on the manufacturing and sale of coffins. It appears that the sole reason for these laws is the economic protection of the funeral industry which reason the Court has previously found not to be a valid government interest standing alone to provide a constitutionally valid reason for these provisions.
Read the full findings and conclusions at U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana