The world of business is a competitive one, with everyone constantly striving to get ahead. However, not everyone behaves fairly in this contentious environment. Often, business disputes arise between parties when one feels that the other has behaved inappropriately. In New Jersey, the Archdiocese of Newark is now in court regarding its obligation to pay its taxes.
In the past few years, the archdiocese has gradually integrated itself into the funeral industry, beginning to make available headstones, mausoleums and other cemetery monuments. The practice has allowed families to purchase these items from cemeteries within the archdiocese. Private vendors feel this is unfair competition for them as it allows families to arrange monuments through the church without needing to look elsewhere.
Two headstone dealers, along with the Monument Builders of New Jersey, brought a lawsuit against the archdiocese on the grounds that cemeteries are prohibited by New Jersey law from selling such objects. Only a few states have this ban, but so far the Archdiocese of Newark has managed to circumvent it. If this monopolization of the market is allowed to continue, private monument businesses fear that they will be bankrupted.
One business owner, whose shop is located opposite a cemetery, stated that he believes his sales will drop by 75 to 80 percent as a result of the archdiocese’s monument trade. Others worry that the matter might extend to the funeral direction business.
For these New Jersey businesses, the outlook may be bleak if they are unable to win the case. Business litigation can be challenging to negotiate alone. It can also be daunting if your opponent in a dispute seems larger or more powerful. However, with the right legal support and a clear understanding of state law, you will be well equipped to fight to protect your business and its future.
Source: NJ.com, “Newark Archdiocese fails to pay state taxes in for-profit headstone, mausoleum business,” Mark Mueller, March 30, 2014