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Cemeteries

Interference With Owner's Rights

A CAUSE OF ACTION may be based upon the interference with the rights of a plot owner. An unlawful and unwarranted interference with an individual's exercise of the right of burial in a cemetery lot is a TORT. An infringement of the rights of a plot owner may be prevented by an INJUNCTION if an injury is threatened.

Either criminal or civil liability, or both, exist for TRESPASS or other types of injuries to a cemetery or to individual burial plots. If a burial ground or plot is wrongfully invaded or desecrated, an action of trespass may be brought against the wrongdoer. VANDALISM and destruction of tombstones are criminal offenses. The person who erects a tombstone may maintain an action for injury to it. After that person's death, his or her heirs may prosecute such an action. Generally, the measure of damages for trespass is the cost of restoration. Since there is a strong public policy against injury to gravesites due to the indignity of the act, punitive damages—intended to deter future acts of desecration—may be awarded.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Robert Lee Carter - Further Readings to Child MolestationCemeteries - Establishment And Regulation, Location, Title And Rights Of Owners Of Plots, Grounds, Or Graves