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Wed Jul 20, 2016, 07:19 AM

Lawsuit: Harrison County steers business to white-owned funeral homes

Gulfport -- The owners of six black-owned funeral homes claim in a federal lawsuit that Harrison County, the Board of Supervisors and Coroner Gary Hargrove discriminate by consistently sending bodies to two white-owned competitors.

The black funeral home owners are asking for a jury trial, damages to compensate them for their losses and punitive damages against Hargrove. One of their attorneys, Michael Kanovitz of the Chicago firm Loevy & Loevy , said the law does not allow for assessment of punitive damages — designed to deter future bad behavior — against counties.

The lawsuit also says Hargrove misled the black funeral home owners by telling them he assigns bodies to funeral homes on a rotating basis.

“That’s the way it should be done in our business,” one of the plaintiffs, Eddie Hartwell of Hartwell Family Funeral Home said Monday. “That’s the way Mr. Hargrove had been telling the Board of Supervisors and others he did it. That’s not true.”

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/harrison-county/article90315882.html

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