Submit a complaint to the South Dakota Office of Attorney General
If you have issues with Restlawn, we urge you to file a complaint with the South Dakota Office of Attorney General.
NOTE: The form on the AG's site makes it look like you have to have the details from the original contract in hand. And it reads like maybe you yourself had to be the one who signed the contract.
But it's ok to guesstimate the dates, and you can submit a complaint on behalf of family members who signed the contracts long before.
Submit a Complaint to Small Claims Court
Below is a link to How to Use South Dakota's Small Claims Court.
Here are a few important points from the brochure:
1. The monetary limit for small claims court is $12,000 or less.
2. Court costs range from $19.20 to $37.20 depending on the amount of the claim.
3. Both the plaintiff and the defendant must appear at the trial.
4. You may subpoena materials through the clerk of the court.
There is much more information in this document. If you are considering taking this step, we recommend that you read the brochure in its entirety.
Do a little homework
Learn more about South Dakota Cemetery Laws
Learn more about South Dakota Trust Fund Law
Find out about similar situations at other cemeteries
The rescue of Sunnyside Cemetery by the state and a non-profit group in in Long Beach, California
The transfer of Fairview Cemetery to a receiver, and then possibly to a new owner in Berlin Township, Ohio
A new owner of East Tennessee Cemetery required by the state to honor prior contracts in Blountville, Tennessee
Strong action regarding United Hebrew Cemetery by an attorney general in Staten Island, New York
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
Write to South Dakota newspapers
Writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper can be a powerful way to build community support for change. In order to get our letters in print, our letters need to be short, and, no matter how frustrated we are with the situation, we need to stay professional and polite.
The families of those buried at Restlawn are spread throughout South Dakota (and beyond), so it makes sense that we write letters to many newspapers. Fortunately, the South Dakota Newspaper Association has a helpful online list of the daily and weekly newspapers across the state. This sortable list includes email addresses for all of the editors. You can check out this link to the South Dakota Newspaper Association:
A great page about how to write a letter to an editor can be found here:
Learn about those who have been interred at Restlawn
Do you have an issue with Restlawn Memory Gardens? Please send us your story.