Illinois Funeral Directors Association Litigation
Wexler Boley & Elgersma represented funeral directors around the State of Illinois and was appointed Lead Settlement Class Counsel in a class action seeking to recover damages on behalf of funeral homes, trustees, pre-need contract purchasers and trust accounts affected by the collapse of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association (IFDA) Pre-Need Trust. Money intended as prepayment for funeral services was deposited in the Trust and was supposed to be invested conservatively in order to preserve capital and earn a small rate of return to cover the cost of inflation. Plaintiffs in the class action alleged the money was not prudently invested, but was used to buy single premium life insurance policies, resulting in a financial catastrophe for the Trust that directly damaged funeral directors, who were forced to pay the difference between what funerals actually cost and the inadequate amounts available from the Trust that were supposed to pay for those services.
The case had multiple facets, and involved the filing of four different cases in in an assortment of state and federal jurisdictions. Efforts to resolve the matters were led by two different mediators. Ultimately, the parties reached a settlement that brought the total benefits received by class members to over $59 million.