Sixty-four defendants have sued Sunset Mesa Funeral Foundation, owner Megan Hess, her parents, and multiple other parties, including Nielson GJ Investments, over alleged involvement in the sale of body parts at the Montrose funeral home and the associated Donor Services Inc.
Both businesses closed in the wake of an ongoing FBI investigation, in which charges have not been filed.
The multi-party litigation, Espinoza et. al., was filed over the alleged mishandling of the remains of 48 decedents. The complaint makes various claims against several defendants relating to fraud and racketeering and body "trafficking." It and three other civil suits have alleged Sunset Mesa's owner dismembered decedents, then sold bodies and body parts without the knowledge or consent of next of kin.
The complaint alleges Nielson GJ Investments did business as Mesa Funeral Service and through that business, sent some of the plaintiffs' deceased loved ones to Sunset Mesa for cremation, where the bodies were "carved up" and sold without the next-of-kin's knowledge or consultation.
Nielson in a previous filing seeking dismissal and summary judgment said the plaintiffs have no claim against it for which relief can be granted, and that any damages they may have suffered came at the hands of other parties.
The company denies the allegations, as have several other defendants, including the Montrose County coroner, Montrose County, American Plastination Company, AxoGen and HopeWest.
HopeWest Hospice filed for dismissal on April 29, calling the claims against it "substantially frivolous and groundless."
Dr. Thomas Canfield and the Montrose County coroner's office filed for dismissal May 2. According to that motion, his office has been falsely linked to an alleged "scheme" to illegally obtain and dispose of body parts.
Sunset Mesa owner Megan Hess, who is named along with her parents in the Espinoza litigation, had her state registrations suspended, then agreed to permanently surrender them.
She denies the state's allegations, as well as the allegations in the four lawsuits.