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Casket competitors settle lawsuit for $17M, fees

November 18, 2014

An Indiana-based casket manufacturer has agreed to pay a Pittsburgh-based competitor $17 million to settle claims it stole customers and employees, and interfered with business operations.

Batesville Casket Co. will also pay $1.75 million in Monday's settlement to cover attorney fees for two employees who used to work for Matthews International Corp.

Matthews sued Batesville claiming the company interfered with business relations by poaching customers from its subsidiaries, the York Group and Milso Industries Corp.

Matthews also accused former employees Harry and Scott Pontone of breaching their employment covenants.

Batesville Casket officials did not immediately respond to a message. Batesville is about 60 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

Shares in Hillenbrand Inc., the parent of Batesville Casket, were down 12 cents Tuesday morning, to $33.95 each.

In 2011, Matthews International unsuccessfully sued two Brownsburg firms, BioSafe Engineering and Digestor LLC, over patents used in a process called "Bio Cremation."

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