The Examiner, Richard O. Baldwin, Jr.
On July 9, 2002, Richard O. Baldwin, Jr., was appointed as Examiner to oversee the burial process of Menorah Gardens and Funeral Chapels by the Circuit Court of the 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, Florida. Mr. Baldwin has over 30 years of experience in the funeral home and cemetery business. He graduated from the Miami-Dade School of Mortuary Science and the University of Central Florida with a BSBA in Accountancy. As Examiner, Mr. Baldwin is responsible for overseeing all of Menorah's burial operations and serves as liaison between the State and/or consumers and Menorah Gardens. In addition to serving as Examiner, Mr. Baldwin, Jr. presently serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Celebris Memorial Services, Inc., a private company owning 72 funeral homes, five cemeteries, and five crematories.
Blue Ribbon Panel for Menorah Gardens Cemeteries Class Action
At the time of preliminary approval of the Settlement, a four-person "Blue Ribbon" panel ("Panel"), which shall include a Class Counsel representative, shall be appointed to review the work of the Examiner and oversee the completion of the Remediation in this Settlement. The purpose of the Panel is to determine whether the Examiner has taken appropriate steps to rectify problems at the Menorah Gardens cemeteries in Broward and Palm Beach, consistent with the terms of the AG Settlement, and completed the Remediation set forth in this Settlement. The power and authority of the Panel is limited to reviewing the work of the Examiner at the Menorah Gardens cemeteries, and the Panel cannot overrule any decisions made by the Examiner. No conclusions or reports rendered by the Panel are binding upon the Examiner or the Defendants. The composition of the Panel shall be agreed upon by the Parties or otherwise determined by Judge J. Leonard Fleet.
Rabbi Maurice Lamm
Rabbi Lamm is the President of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice and is a Professor at Yeshiva University's Rabbinical Seminary in New York, where he holds the Chair in Professional Rabbinics, and was Assistant Professor at Stern College for Women. He was, for many years, Senior Rabbi of one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in the United States, Beth Jacob Congregation -- Beverly Hills, California. Rabbi Lamm was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Yeshiva University, from which he holds a BA, MA, and Rabbinic Ordination, and he was awarded the Lifetime Professional Achievement Award by the University in May, 2004. He is the author of eight books.
Rabbi Lamm's most recent publications besides Consolation (March 2004, JPS) are The Jewish Hospice Manual, and Kocha Shel Tikvah (Hed Arzi, Israel. 2003).
He is most popularly known for The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, considered one of the seven best Jewish books by the New York Times, listed among the 10 all-time Jewish bestsellers by Moment Magazine, and The 100 Best Jewish Books in America, having sold more than 320,000 copies. It has been translated into Hebrew (due Sept. 2004, Urim)
Rabbi Lamm also wrote The Power of Hope, [Scribner's] paperback edition (Fireside), and translated into Portuguese, Greek, Spanish, Chinese, and Hebrew. He has written I Shall Glorify Him on Herman Wouk's This Is My God, (Doubleday), The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage (Harper and Row), and a CD-ROM on the book, (Davka), Becoming A Jew, (Jonathan David) on religious conversion, and Living Torah in America for teens. His last television appearance was a PBS Special round-table with leading ethicists, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and available on videotape.
One of his most important contributions has been the creation of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice. The Institute has more than 52,000 subscribers. It has created and motivated 67 Jewish Hospice Commissions throughout the country and published many programs, pamphlets and tape sets on Hospice. The Rabbi was senior consultant to VITAS, the largest hospice corporation in America.
Rabbi Lamm was Field Director of Military Chaplains for the National Jewish Welfare Board, and traveled for the U.S. Dept. of Defense with the civilian equivalent rank of Major General. His duties there took him to military outposts around the world, from Greenland to Vietnam. He has written extensively on Jewish War Ethics, with articles in leading journals on the subjects of "Red or Dead?" "Pacifism: Selective Conscientious Objection", and in a literary debate with Arthur Waskow on the ethical conduct of the Vietnam War, and "Ethics of Military Conscription"; and he was invited to speak on War Ethics at the National Defense University and the Army War College.
His past community offices include: President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California; Dean, Akiba Academy, NY; Dean, Rambam Academy in Los Angeles; Founding co-Dean, S.A.R. Academy, Riverdale; V.P. and Chairman, Ethics Commission, Rabbinical Council of America; member, editorial boards of Tradition and Jewish Digest; and founder, Jewish Television Network, California.
Jeffrey B. Retterer
Mr. Retterer is Office and Division Manager of General Civil Services in Greenhorne & O'Mara's Germantown Office, which serves Montgomery, Frederick, and Howard Counties, as well as project sites in the Eastern Region of the United States. His division includes Planning, Engineering, and Surveying Departments. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland (1977) and continuously furthers his education by way of Continuing Education coursework and seminars. Mr. Retterer is a member of the Potomac Chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Suburban Maryland Building Industry Association.
Mr. Retterer has spent his engineering career in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area and has extensive experience in all phases of General Civil Engineering for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. His background includes topographic and boundary surveys, legal descriptions (metes and bounds) for legal land transfers, record plat computations, engineering feasibility analyses and reports, site development plans, sediment control design, design of stormwater management facilities, design of storm drainage systems, water main and sanitary sewer design, major utility transmission lines, and design of roadways. He has supervised complete engineering operations and has coordinated projects with numerous local and regional governmental agencies. He is qualified as an expert witness in Civil Engineering and makes presentations and provides testimony on projects at Public Hearings, Planning Boards, Board of Appeals and Hearing Examiner, and to citizens organizations. Mr. Retterer's technical and management experience has spanned more than 24 years in the civil and land development engineering and consulting business. His responsibilities have expanded from project engineer to project management and office management.
Mr. Retterer's experience in cemetery services includes the following:
Garden of Remembrance Hebrew Cemetery, Clarksburg, Montgomery County, Maryland. Provided Boundary and Topographic Survey of approximately 152 acres of property to be developed as a Hebrew Cemetery. Included the preparation of Record Plats together with legal descriptions and other required recordation documents. G&O provided complete construction stakeout for the site improvements including earthwork, stormwater management, storm drain, and grading and paving. Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc. provided survey control monumentation for sections, blocks and lots, as well as staking pin locations for front corners for every 6th grave. G&O was also contracted to stake individual graves throughout the site as needed. Survey equipment used included conventional instruments together with RTK GPS Equipment.
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery, Gaithersburg, Montgomery County, Maryland. Provided a complete topographic and tree location survey for a local "Historical" cemetery consisting of approximately 10 acres. Survey included tree sizing and identification as well as individual headstone locations and locations of survey monumentation found.
Crownsville Veterans Cemetery, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Responsible for recovering and locating existing survey monumentation, and the coordination of available design plans. The survey also included locations and identification of buildings, roadways and existing site features, including locations and identification of trees, shrubs, planting beds, fountains, sidewalks and roadways, as well as any apparent visible locations of grave sections.
Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery, Prince George's County, Maryland. Responsible for recovering and locating existing survey monumentation and the coordination of available design plans. Included locations and identification of buildings, roadways and existing site features, including locations and identification of trees, shrubs, planting beds, fountains, sidewalks and roadways, as well as any apparent visible locations of grave sections.
Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, Baltimore County, Maryland. Responsible for recovering and locating existing survey monumentation and the coordination of available design plans. Included locations and identification of buildings, roadways and existing site features, including locations and identification of trees, shrubs, planting beds, fountains, sidewalks and roadways, as well as any apparent visible locations of grave sections.
Ralph J. D'Amato
RALPH J. D'AMATO, JR., RLA, ASLA
Consultant: Cemetery Design and Operations; Submittal Quality Control
BS, Landscape Architecture (1959) University of Massachusetts
Landscape Architecture Maryland Virginia
American Society of Landscape Architects - Past President, Potomac chapter
Professional Grounds Management Society; Past Vice-President, DC Branch
International Cemetery and Funeral Association
Maryland Freestate Cemetery Association
Qualifications and Experience
Mr. D'Amato has been at the forefront of cemetery design on a national basis for 36 years, including 22 years employed by the National Cemetery Administration (retired in 2001), providing design/ construction management of projects ranging in budget from $1,000 to $28,000,000 and from ½ acre to 900 acres in size. As such, he is intimately familiar with the Department of Veterans Affairs' cemetery design parameters and procedures. His experience includes site selection assistance for new cemeteries or expansion of existing ones; master planning; gravesite layout plans; lawn crypt section plans; detailed landscape plans; detailed plans for features and entrance gateways; roadway design; columbaria design; layout and setting of lot markers; and developing requirements for new buildings and renovation/expansion of existing ones. He also provided design guidance for several State Veterans Cemeteries. For the past 36 years Mr. D'Amato has conducted a part or full time practice of cemetery design for private cemeteries that includes the type of experience listed above plus mausoleum site work.
His relevant project experience includes:
Veterans Administration Cemetery Experience
Mr. D'Amato was responsible for direction of projects at 68 out of the 120 National Cemeteries, with some cemeteries having multiple projects. He was involved in the project management of the establishment of 11 new National Cemeteries. Also, he was responsible for master plans for future growth and improvements to existing areas for 7 National Cemeteries. Projects included thousands of acres of gravesite development, columbaria, feature development, administration buildings, service buildings (new construction or additions) restroom buildings, committal service shelters, visitor information buildings, irrigation systems and landscaping.
Private Cemetery Experience
Mr. D'Amato has performed design work on over 100 private cemeteries (many with multiple projects) with projects ranging from ½ acre to 100 acres including master plans for new and existing cemeteries. Cemetery clients are located in 23 states and Canada. He has also been recognized as an expert witness in court cases.
Additionally, Mr. D'Amato is very experienced in developing restoration/improvements within the context of a historic cemetery both in National Cemeteries and private cemeteries. All but the newest of the National Cemeteries are on the National Register and several of the private cemeteries are historic such as Mount Hope and Riverside Cemeteries in Rochester, NY and the Civil War Cemetery at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC.
The Garden City Group, Inc.
Specialists in legal administration services, The Garden City Group, Inc. (GCG) provides comprehensive solutions to: administer class actions, design legal notice programs, manage Chapter 11 claims administrations, and perform inspection services, and manage warranty and product recall services. They are a respected resource for plaintiff and defense counsel as well as for corporations who seek their expert consultation to address a variety of legal service issues and challenges. GCG is a technology-driven organization led by a multi-disciplinary team comprised of experts from IT, management, and law.
Menorah Gardens Telephone Numbers
Menorah Gardens (Memorial Park Road), West Palm Beach, FL Phone: (561) 627-2277
Menorah Gardens (Griffin Road), Ft. Lauderdale, FL Phone: (954) 434-1531
Florida Attorney General's Settlement Claims Process
In a Settlement Agreement between SCI Funeral Services of Florida, Inc. (SCI) d/b/a Menorah Gardens and Funeral Chapels and the Office of the Attorney General of the state of Florida, SCI agreed to deposit two million dollars ($2,000,000.00) to a consumer fund for those individuals who suffered damages related to the two Menorah cemeteries.
In that Agreement, Richard O. Baldwin, Jr. was appointed to oversee the claims procedures including notifying and distributing the funds to qualified cemetery property owners. The Examiner filed an Action Plan on August 25, 2003 with the Circuit Court of the 15th Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, Florida. While acting under this Plan, the Examiner obtained a list of names and addresses of all cemetery property owners from SCI and mailed a Consumer Notice to all property owners (with deliverable addresses) at the two Menorah Gardens referenced in the Settlement.