Louisiana monks win business licensing litigation

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

People who are considering opening a business in Louisiana may find themselves facing some unexpected issues regarding licensing. With that in mind, would-be business owners with business law concerns may be interested in a recent case involving monks at Saint Joseph Abbey in Saint Benedict.

The monks attempted to start a business in 2007. They had always made pine coffins for the church, and after learning that people wanted to buy the coffins, the monks tried to get a business going.

The abbey created a company called Saint Joseph’s Woodworks. However, before the abbey was able to successfully consummate its first sale, a subdivision of the Louisiana State Board sent a cease-and-desist letter.

The monks later found out that the law in Louisiana states that if a business wishes to sell coffins, those individuals who would actually be doing the selling of burial materials must undergo training as funeral directors, as well as learn the various practices of preserving and embalming bodies.

After the cease-and-desist letter arrived, the abbey appealed the issuance to the state legislature. However, the state legislature was not sympathetic and stated it did not want any amendments to the law. Following this, the abbey appealed to federal court and finally won the case, with the court ruling that there was no reasonable basis for requiring casket sellers to become licensed as funeral directors.

Whether the focus is small or large, it is true that many people who are considering opening a business in Louisiana are often subject to stringent licensing requirements. Owners of companies of any size should stay abreast of the required licenses in order to avoid costly litigation with authorities.

Source: CNBC, “Would-Be Business Owners Often Deterred By License Process,” May 17, 2012