Green v. House of Wright Mortuary, Inc.


Court: Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle County

Date published: Nov 17, 2005


The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (“Order”) is an international organization. It was established in Europe in 1600 A.D. The Order was established in America in 1730, and in Delaware in 1830.

The structure and governance of the Order in America is much like that of a federation. Though there is a unifying charter, constitution, and code of laws, each member lodge is afforded relative autonomy in managing its affairs.

In Delaware, each member lodge is subordinate to the state Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge of the State of Delaware is, in turn, subordinate to the Sovereign Grant Lodge of the Order located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Both the Grand Lodge and the Delaware subordinate lodges derive their tax-exempt status through membership in the Order.

At its peak, the Odd Fellows ranks numbered more than 6,000 in Delaware alone. Today, it has 443 members. The average age of an Odd Fellow in Delaware now exceeds 70 years.

In 1872, certain of the Odd Fellows lodges in Delaware, along with certain member lodges of another fraternal organization in Pennsylvania, known as the Knights of Pythias, acquired 77 acres of land in North Wilmington and formed the Riverview Cemetery Company of Wilmington, Delaware (“Cemetery”), a Delaware corporation. Initially, ownership of the Cemetery was set up as a for-profit stock company. In 1972, the Cemetery was converted to a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Today, stock in the Cemetery is owned by three entities: Delaware Lodge No. 1 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (115 shares); Eden Lodge No. 34 (5 shares); and Grand Lodge of the Knights of Pythias (80 shares).



Plaintiffs have filed a Motion in Limine seeking to exclude any new evidence produced by Mateja after the discovery period had expired. Plaintiffs’ Motion in Limine against House of Wright Mortuary, Inc. and Robert O. Wright requests that the court exclude Robert O. Wright as an expert witness. House of Wright Mortuary, Inc.’s and Robert O. Wright’s Motion in Limine seeking to exclude the expert testimony of Daniel M. Isard.

The court, having ruled that Defendants Walter Mateja and House of Wright Mortuary, Inc. and Robert O. Wright are dismissed from this action, holds that the listed Motions in Limine are hereby DENIED AS MOOT.

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