LOS ANGELES (CN) – One cremation company has sued another, citing “grave concerns” about its business practices. Smart Cremation claims Neptune Management and the Trident Society violated its “Smart Cremation” trademark and defamed it.
Both companies sell “pre-need” cremation services.
Smart claims it has used the “Smart Cremation” trademark since April 1, 2009 and has spent “millions of dollars” developing and marketing it.
“The actual and potential goodwill associated with the Smart Cremation trademarks are one of the Smart Cremation’s most valuable corporate assets,” it says in its Superior Court complaint.
Around April this year, Smart claims, Neptune disseminated brochures titled, “Who is Smart Cremation?” Smart claims the flyers, and posting on the Internet, included “false and misleading facts characterized as an official statement.”
Smart’s owner, co-plaintiff Jerry Norman, formerly worked for Neptune. In his complaint, Norman claims that he “quit over Neptune’s plans to risk in volatile and questionable investments, millions of dollars necessary to perform committed contracts.” Norman claims that he “properly resigned due to his grave concerns about the ethics and character of Neptune’s owner’s representative.”
He claims that Neptune, through its “artifices,” alleged that Norman was “dismissed” for “illegal, unethical and substandard business practices and other mismanagement and misconduct. They claim that Smart fraudulently misrepresents its business assets, structure and ownership so as to diminish its reputation in the cremation business. Defendants further accuse Norman and Smart of engaging in illegal and unethical business practices in their dealings with consumers, customers and regulators. Finally, Neptune, without any basis, insists that Smart is in debt, on the verge of bankruptcy,” according to the complaint.
Norman seeks an injunction and punitive damages for trademark violations, unfair competition and libel. He is represented by Adam Bram.