It’s been a long-time since the 1995 court case where a Mississippi funeral home owner sued Canadian public funeral home company The Loewen Group for $5 million for what the plaintiff described as a “breach of contract”. The lawsuit led to a $500 million jury award in a Mississippi court and virtually put the Loewen Group out of business.
The case had enough “Hollywood” in it to lead Amazon to begin filming in New Orleans this past month for a full-length feature film starring Jamie Foxx, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jurnee Smollett (the sister of Jussee Smollett). The film, titled “The Burial”, is expected to be out for viewing in early 2023. Here’s what this story from WLBT of Jackson, MS, says about the film:
“Filming is underway for an Amazon movie that is set to tell the story of a landmark court case involving well-known Coast businessman and former Biloxi mayor Jerry O’Keefe. “The Burial” is currently filming in New Orleans and is set to be released late this year or early 2023. Jamie Foxx, who is also one of the movie’s producers, stars in the legal drama alongside Tommy Lee Jones. . . . .The film is an adaptation of a New Yorker article written by Jonathan Harr, which was published in 1999. Based on a real case that took place in the late 90s, the film follows the tale of Biloxi’s Jerry O’Keefe, the late owner of Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home.. . . In the film, which is based off a true story but does contain parts that have been fictionalized, Tommy Lee Jones plays O’Keefe, who sets out to save his family’s funeral business from a corporate behemoth, making the decision to sue one of his competitors over a handshake deal gone awry. . . . The case, which took place in the 1990s, ended with the jury awarding O’Keefe $500 million. . . . O’Keefe, who died in 2016, was well-known throughout South Mississippi. He served in the state legislature form 1959 to 1963, (and) was mayor of Biloxi from 1973 to 1981.”
Actor Bill Camp has been cast to play the part of Loewen Group founder and CEO Ray Loewen.
Back in 2018 Funeral Director Daily had written a Two-Part series entitled “Flashback to the Loewen Case”. Here are those stories, and an article from Time Magazine, which will give you a background on the case and set you up to watch the movie with some knowledge of the situation.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Funeral worker allegedly steals 84-year old clients house, life savings. Video story and print article. WINK – TV (FL)
- Funeral home director accused of operating without a license. The Clay Center Dispatch (NH)
- Funeral insurer quietly enters administration, told to explain itself by financial regulator. ABC News (Australia)
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