Covering Louisiana

Oct 24, 2012 12:16 PM by AP

La. high court asked to rule in monks' casket case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal appeals court is asking the Louisiana Supreme Court to decide whether the state's board of funeral directors has the authority under state law to bar an order of Benedictine monks from selling caskets.

In their ruling Tuesday, a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals expressed doubt that the board's regulatory power extends beyond funeral homes.

But the panel said the state's highest court should decide how much authority is given to the board under state law.

The board appealed after a federal judge ruled last year in favor of St. Joseph Abbey, a Roman Catholic monastery in Covington that sued the board.

The 5th Circuit panel said it would defer a final decision on the board's appeal until after the Supreme Court rules.


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