Tri-State Crematory Litigation

The nation was horrified when facts came to light that an unlicensed crematory operator had discarded over 1,000 bodies on his property in Noble, Georgia. David Randolph Smith filed the first case, a class action suit, and was Class Counsel in the federal court trial in Rome, Georgia. Mr. Smith engaged The Fleissner Firm in Chattanooga, Tennessee as co-counsel for the plaintiffs. The firm worked with the national law firm of Lieff Cabraser to prosecute the case and bring the case to a conclusion via settlement after seven days of trial.


  • On March 11, 2004 the funeral homes settled in the second week of the trial for $40 million.
  • On August 26, 2004 the Marshes agreed to a settlement for $80 million. As part of the settlement the crematory site is being returned to a natural state, as shown by this photograph taken May 2, 2005:

One of the purposes of tort law, in addition to compensation, is deterrence. Holding funeral homes and the Marshes accountable for what happened at the Tri-State Crematory will change funeral industry practices and prevent crematory abuses from happening again.For example, the February 2004 issue of Funeral Director, the industry’s leading trade publication, has a front page article titled, Crematory Due Diligence: The procedures and forms your funeral home needs to conduct due diligence when it utilizes third-party crematories. The article states:

  • “Funeral homes that use outside crematories are hiring third parties to provide an integral part of the services they have sold to a family. As such, the funeral home has a responsibility to the family to ensure that the crematory will carry out the cremation in a legal, professional and ethical manner. The best method to obtain these assurances, and to protect the funeral homes from liability in case of a problem at the crematory, is to carry out the four-step due-diligence process outlined in this section.”

We are honored to have handled this case and thank all of our clients, experts and co-counsel who worked so hard to bring this case to a successful conclusion.

Over $500 Million
Recovered Since 1993

We've Helped Thousands of People Just Like You

We are known for getting life-changing results and fighting to make our communities safer.

Why Choose Us As Your  Attorney?

With us on your side, you can focus on what’s most important – your recovery.

Decades Of Experience

Decades Of Experience

Our Nashville personal injury attorneys have over 75 years of combined practice handling cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, civil rights, medical device lawsuits, wrongful death, and more.

Excellent Reputation

Excellent Reputation

DRS Law is a well-respected personal injury law firm based in Nashville. Our lawyers have  been selected as a Mid-South Super Lawyer, named one of the Top 100 attorneys in Tennessee in all fields of practice, and is included in the Best Lawyers in America guidebook.

Small Case Volume

Small Case Volume

Unlike many Nashville firms that handle a large volume of cases, we concentrate on a select few cases. With this, our attorneys ensure that every step is taken to obtain the most favorable outcomes for our clients.

We Prepare For Trial

We Prepare For Trial

Every case is meticulously prepared for trial by our trial team and support staff in order to maximize the recovery for our client, whether by settlement or trial verdict. Our proven track record of success has resulted in multi-million-dollar settlements and judgments.

What to Expect

Our Legal Services Are Completely Personalized To You And Your Unique Needs

01  Free Consultation

Our dedicated personal injury and accident lawyers provide free, no-pressure case evaluations. We will help you determine if you have a case and will answer all your questions in plain English. We never charge any fees until we win your case.


02  Personalized Service

If we take your case, it’s because we believe we can help you. We will get to work outlining a strategic plan of action. We want you to feel taken care of during this difficult time — whatever questions you have, we’re here with answers. Frequent check-ins ensure you are comfortable with the progress of your case.

03  You Get Paid

We are passionate about the success of your case and will give it the close attention and focus it deserves. We find solutions that other lawyers miss, discovering key facts that help you win. We call upon our gifts in storytelling to argue your case with passion and conviction so you get the compensation and justice you deserve.

What Our Clients Say