FAYETTEVILLE — Majestic Funeral Home in Elizabethtown can continue operating, but not under the management of owner Eric Matthews, according to a ruling in District Court in Fayettevile on Monday.
In April, Mitch Colvin of Colvin Funeral Home filed a restraining order against both Matthews and Matthews Funeral Home, citing Matthews’ failure to release pertinent information about money mismanagement prior to a settlement agreement the two parties reached.
The dispute centered around Matthews’ breach of contract and alleged that Matthews settled the breach of contract dispute without divulging that he had also mismanaged funds while employed by Colvin. Since the two parties reached an agreement about the non-competition violation in ignorance of all of the facts, Colvin filed a restraining order, which would essentially recall the non-competition clause and forbid Matthews and Matthews Funeral Home from operating in a place where Colvin does substantial business, including Bladen County.
On May 6, during an initial hearing, neither Matthews nor Matthews’ attorney attended, stating a conflict. The restraining order was extended until May 16 and a new hearing set for that date.
At Monday’s hearing, Colvin’s legal team persuaded a judge that their complaint was valid, and Matthews was ordered not to practice funeral services within a 35-mile radius of Colvin’s Funeral Home. However, since the complaint was against Matthews Funeral Home — the funeral home that Matthews established while employed by Colvin — it was deemed that Majestic Funeral Home is a different entity under a different name and therefore not under the injunction.
Matthews, however, was forbidden from operating a funeral home, and a funeral home is legally established under a manager, so as long as Majestic is tied to Matthews, the home is not licensed and cannot operate. Were Majestic to find a new manager, business could be conducted. The injunction remains in effect until the case comes before the court, a date for which has not been set.
“The judge felt the case had enough merit to move forward,” Colvin stated. “I’m confident and hopeful that we can get this resolved. My goal is not to stop anyone from conducting business but to make sure we protect the interests and clients of the company.”
Matthews could not be reached for comment.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.