Lawsuit over Jonestown Memorial Continues

The lawsuit which Jynona Norwood, head of the Guyana Tribute Foundation, brought against Evergreen Cemetery over the Jonestown memorial is still pending.

Filed in mid-May 2011, the lawsuit alleged that the foundation had a valid contract to erect a memorial at Evergreen, and that the cemetery violated the contract when it entered into separate negotiations with the Jonestown Memorial Fund. Evergreen replied that Norwood does not have a contract for a monument at the site and, by extension, cannot dictate what may or may not be done there.

Norwood initially sought two temporary restraining orders against the cemetery, first seeking a court order against further work on the site for the new memorial and – when that failed, in large part because the work was complete – seeking a ruling against a dedication service planned for May 29, 2011. The second request also failed, and the service went forward.

The suit has made little significant progress since its early flurry of activity last year. Norwood petitioned the court to act as her own attorney in the matter, but was denied when the court ruled that state law precludes an officer of a non-profit foundation from acting as its legal representative. Since then, Norwood has obtained the services of a new attorney, Connie Younger.

Several hearings on the case have resulted in either delays or requests for additional information, the latest such hearing occurring on 6 September 2012. The next court date is set for 20 December 2012.

Information on the case may be tracked through the case summary page at the Alameda County Superior Court website. The case number for Guyana Tribute Foundation v. Evergreen Cemetery is RG11575036 (The letters are case sensitive); the link to “Register of Actions” gives a full history of the case.