The Minnesota District court sided with the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Minnesota and Verlin Stoll, owner of the low-cost Crescent Tide Funerals and Cremation, striking down the state's requirement that every funeral home or branch have a fully equipped embalming room. The requirement served no rational purpose, the court ruled, especially in situations where a funeral home sales branch would not have on-site body preparation. Owner Verlin Stoll argued successfully that the $50,000 to $80,000 cost to build an embalming room served no public protection purpose. Instead, it served to limit competition among funeral homes by weeding out low-overhead, moderate-priced businesses like Crescent Tide.
The court decision noted,
Minnesota law requires every “funeral establishment” to build a preparation and embalming room, regardless of whether on-site preparation of human remains will be performed on site. Although Minnesota law mandates the construction of a preparation and embalming room by every funeral establishment, there is no requirement that the preparation and embalming room be used.
Indeed, embalming is not required by law in Minnesota (no, not even for public viewing); other options such as dry ice and refrigeration are legal alternatives.
Once again, the team at the Institute for Justice escorted another antique, anti-consumer funeral regulation to a proper burial. Hats off to IJ and the volunteers at FCA of Minnesota!