Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Service Corporation International and Stewart Enterprises, Inc.; File No. 131-0163
I am a member of the Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, one of the many congregations in the Washington DC Jewish community. I am writing to urge the FTC to protect this regional market from the monopoly on Jewish funeral services that would result from SCI's merger with Stewart Enterprises. I appreciate the FTC's recognition of the importance of this protection in its proposed action, to require that Ed Sagel's Funeral Home be divested in order to provide competition with the combined SCI-Stewart entity. However, Ed Sagel's will not provide the competition that is needed, because like most funeral homes, it does not have the specialized facilities to carry out the traditional practices of washing and dressing the body of the deceased, and it is unlikely to be able to afford the considerable investment to create those facilities. This shortcoming is reflected in the fact that the vast majority of funerals in our community have taken place, not at Ed Sagel's, but at Hines-Rinaldi, which does have these facilities. Please require that a funeral home that provides full services to the Jewish community be divested from the merger of SCI and Stewart Enterprises. Thank you.