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Service Corporation International Comments on Recent Litigation
HOUSTON, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Service Corporation International (NYSE: SRV), the world's largest funeral and cemetery company, today held a conference call that was open to the public to discuss its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2001, which were contained in a separate press release issued yesterday afternoon. During this conference call, Jerald L. Pullins, President and Chief Operating Officer, commented on allegations made in recent lawsuits in the States of Florida and Georgia. The Florida lawsuit relates to litigation involving two cemeteries owned by the Company's Florida subsidiary and the Georgia lawsuit relates to allegations of mishandling human remains by a crematory not owned or affiliated with the Company. A summary of these comments is below.
Florida -- The Company has met several times with authorities from the offices of the Florida Department of Banking and the Florida Attorney General. The Company provided Florida authorities with an eight-point plan to resolve issues at the two cemeteries in question, and the Company has cooperated fully with the Florida authorities. -- The Company is continuing its internal investigation into the allegations made with respect to these two Florida cemeteries. In conjunction with outside experts, the Company has scanned certain gravesites in question at these two Florida cemeteries with ground penetrating radar which indicates, along with cemetery records, that burial vaults are in place in these gravesites, appear to be intact and are located in the sites indicated on the Company's cemetery maps and records. -- The Company filed a motion this morning with Judge Leonard Fleet of the Broward County Circuit Court to allow more extensive measuring, physical probing and non-invasive detailed site analysis with regard to the gravesites in question at these two Florida cemeteries. -- The Company refutes media reports indicating families may not have properly approved of constructed in place grave liners in certain gravesites in these two cemeteries. Georgia -- The allegations made in a lawsuit with regard to mishandling human remains related to one crematory (Tri-States Crematory) in Georgia which is not owned or affiliated with the Company, nor has the Company ever had any ownership, affiliation or financial interest in this crematory in question. -- The Company's wholly owned or affiliated locations effectively ceased using the non-owned and non-affiliated Tri-States Crematory in Georgia in 1994. Only two cremations were performed by this non-owned and non-affiliated crematory for the Company's currently owned or affiliated locations subsequent to 1994, both of which the Company believes were sent to the non-owned and non-affiliated crematory in question at the family's specific request. -- One funeral home location acquired by the Company in 1999 and subsequently sold in 2001 may have utilized the non-owned and non- affiliated Tri-States Crematory for approximately 24 cremations between 1995 and 1999. -- At this point in time, and to the best of the Company's knowledge, none of the identified remains from the non-owned and non-affiliated crematory in question have come from the Company's affiliated locations, although a factual determination will have to wait on the completion of Georgia state authorities' investigations. -- At present, the Company uses owned and affiliated crematory facilities for all of its cremation services performed or independent facilities which have executed Third-Party Crematory Agreements, which establish standards of performance, accountability and regulatory compliance. Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Statements
The statements in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements made in reliance on the "safe harbor" protections provided under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be accompanied by words such as "believe," "estimate," "project," "expect," "anticipate" or "predict," that convey the uncertainty of future events or outcomes. These statements are based on assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable; however, many important factors could cause the Company's actual results in the future to differ materially from the forward-looking statements made herein and in any other documents or oral presentations made by, or on behalf of, the Company. For further information on these risks and uncertainties, see the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including the Company's 2000 Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Company assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward- looking statements made herein or any other forward-looking statements made by the Company, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
As of December 31, 2001, the Company and its affiliates operated 3,099 funeral service locations, 475 cemeteries and 177 crematoria and provides funeral and cemetery services in 11 countries.
For additional information contact: Investor Relations: Eric D. Tanzberger - Vice President / Investor Relations Assistant Corporate Controller Tel: (713) 525-7768 Debbie E. Fisher - Director / Investor Relations Tel: (713) 525-9088 Media Relations: Terry Hemeyer - Managing Director / Corp. Communications Tel: (713) 525-5497
Other Service Corporation International information and news releases are available through SCI's corporate website at: http://www.sci-corp.com .
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