OAKLAND, Fla. – A new lawsuit is blaming a developer for flooding at Tildenville Oakland Cemetery that caused caskets and remains to become unearthed.
Morgan & Morgan is representing the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, which names Pulte Home Company and S&ME, Inc., the designers and developers of the new Longleaf at Oakland community, as the defendants.
In September, rain caused a deluge at the historic cemetery off State Road 50. Photos and videos showed several inches of water soaking the ground and some graves completely submerged.
Family members who have loved ones buried at the cemetery said seeing caskets floating in the water was heartbreaking.
“This is like burying them all over again,” Deborah Fryar said. “Nobody should have to go through this. It’s very emotional.”
Morgan & Morgan claims that Pulte and S&ME built a second drive into Longleaf but when they realized it would flood, they built a culvert that diverted all the runoff water into the cemetery.
“For generations, families have been paying final respects to their loved ones by laying their remains to rest in peace with dignity at Oakland Tildenville Cemetery. These families were shocked and horrified to see that sacred ground desecrated and deluged with runoff water, as if it was nothing more than a sewer or dump. We will fight to hold everyone responsible for this disgrace accountable – and to make sure no other families ever have to go through something like this again,” Morgan & Morgan attorneys John Morgan and Kathryn Barnett said in a statement.
Pulte said in September that it worked quickly to remove the standing water and that it would devise a more permanent solution. The company claimed that the Longleaf development did not cause the issue.
The lawsuit is seeking damages in excess of $30,000.