Franklin County Cemetery Society

Franklin County Cemetery Society restores Pacific Cemetery.

Court action on a mediated agreement between parties in the Pacific cemetery records case was set for Jan. 29, but was postponed.

Resident Neil Brennan filed suit in Franklin County Court in December 2015 against the city of Pacific, City Clerk Kim Barfield and former sexton Alan Bruns, demanding that cemetery records in Bruns’ possession be turned over to the city clerk.

The lawsuit centered on ownership of several handwritten ledger books that recorded lot sales, burial dates and burial locations in the two city-owned cemeteries.

Bruns, who served as sexton from 1988 to 2014, maintained the books at his Bruns Monument company office. He was the third member of his family to serve as sexton and maintain the ledger books.

In November 2017, the parties said they wanted to mediate the case and avoid a full trial.

Pacific aldermen were notified Jan. 16 that a mediated settlement had been reached and were asked to approve the agreement, which they did.

In the settlement agreement, the litigants agreed that the court “shall declare” the disputed records to be the official property of the city of Pacific and that they be maintained at city hall.

The court would further declare that neither Bruns, nor any member of his family, has any ownership in the cemetery records in possession of the court.

Originally on the court docket for Monday, Jan. 29, the participants asked the courts to postpone the action.

The motion to postpone the court appearance said the court had not received the Pacific Board of Aldermen approval of the settlement agreement.

Mayor Jeff Palmore said the signed approval has been forwarded to the court.

The case is now set for Judge Dave Hoven’s court at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 26.

Palmore said the disposition of this case does not signal the end of the quest for cemetery records. He said he believes that Bruns has in his possession other cemetery records that he will attempt to recover.