and he made answers that were responsive and intelligent. It, therefore, appears to me that he was fully aware of what he was doing, the instruments which he executed carried his intention and desire, and that no undue influence or fraud was, therefore, practiced upon him or his wife.
This lawsuit has caused considerable illfeeling and deep seated wounds between the daughter and her father, and the other members of this once happy family. It should be remembered there is more in life than material things or financial gain. If the defendant would keep this predominant in her mind, she would be able to contribute materially in many ways to the happiness, well-being and welfare of her aged father during the few remaining years of his life.
Findings of Fact.
1. The plaintiff is a resident of Sharon, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
2. The defendant is a resident of Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio.
3. The plaintiff and defendant are father and daughter respectively.
4. This action was originally brought in the Common Pleas Court of Mercer County, Pennsylvania, but said cause was properly removed to the Federal Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania by the defendant.
5. The plaintiff is a widower, seventy-eight years of age, and the defendant is a married woman, thirty-nine years of age.
6. On April 30, 1928, the date of defendant's marriage, the plaintiff had a mortgage in the amount of $ 2500 on his property, the subject of the present action.
7. The plaintiff does not read or write any language; he is illiterate, but he can understand and speak Rumanian, Hungarian or English.
8. On September 18, 1941, a deed was executed in which plaintiff and defendant were grantor and grantee respectively, reserving a life estate to the plaintiff.
9. That in addition to reserving a life estate together with the rents, issues, incomes and profits from said real estate, it was the intention of the parties that the defendant would provide for the plaintiff the necessities and needs which he might require for and during the term of his life if the income from the property was not sufficient to maintain him in the station of life to which he had been accustomed.
10. The plaintiff, Steve Popovitch, signed the deed by affixing his mark and was fully aware of the nature and extent of said transaction at that time.
11. The mother of the defendant, now deceased, signed the deed by affixing her mark and was fully aware of the nature and extent of said transacion at that time.
12. The plaintiff re-affirmed and ratified the execution of said deed by the execution of the agreement on the 5th day of June, 1942. It was fully understood by him and the defendant that under the terms and provisions of the agreement of June 5, 1942, it was the intention of the parties that the defendant would provide the plaintiff with the necessities and needs which he might require for and during the term of the plaintiff's life if the incomes, issues, rents and profits therefrom were not sufficient to maintain him in the station of life to which he had been accustomed.
13. After the death of defendant's mother, i.e., plaintiff's wife, defendant sold out the stock of the business and removed to Youngstown, Ohio, taking plaintiff with her.
14. Plaintiff remained in Youngstown only three days and returned to Sharon, in which latter city he has since resided.
15. The defendant has not contributed any money to the maintenance and support of the plaintiff since the date of the deed, to wit, September 18, 1941, other than permitting the plaintiff to have all the rents, issues, incomes and profits from said real estate.
16. That although it is the duty and obligation of the defendant to provide the plaintiff with any additional income which he might require in order to maintain him in the station of life to which he had been accustomed if the rents, issues, income and profits from the real estate are not sufficient so to do, there is no evidence that the plaintiff has been unable to maintain himself in the manner to which he had been accustomed.
17. An agreement was executed on an unknown date in September, 1941, giving the defendant the right to receive certain rents from a portion of the plaintiff's property, to wit, all of the property except the shoe shop and barbershop.
18. On the 5th day of June, 1942, an agreement was entered into by the plaintiff and defendant wherein the defendant paid to the plaintiff the sum of $ 500, which the plaintiff had loaned to the defendant, and whereby the defendant returned to the plaintiff certain rent money and other money realized by the defendant from the sale of plaintiff's personal property.
19. The defendant paid no actual money consideration or gave any value for the interest which was received in said real estate. However, the defendant is obligated to provide the plaintiff with such additional income as the plaintiff might need or require for and during the term of the remainder of his life if the rents, issues, profits and income are not sufficient so to do.
20. The plaintiff has paid the taxes and insurance on the property.
21. The plaintiff paid his attorneys for drafting the various instruments.
22. The value of the property at the time of the execution of the deed on September 18, 1941, was seven to eight thousand dollars.
23. No fraud existed at the time of the execution of the deed and the terms and provisions thereof were fully understood.
24. The plaintiff ratified and confirmed the terms and provisions of said deed by the supplemental agreement executed on the 5th day of June, 1942, the terms and provisions thereof having been explained and, as a result thereof, understood by the plaintiff.
25. The defendant has established that no fraud, advantage or undue influence was exercised over the plaintiff at the time of the execution of the deed, modified agreement and supplemental agreement.
Conclusions of Law.
1. The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has jurisdiction of said actions by reason of the diversity of the citizenship of the parties, plaintiff and defendant.
2. There existed a confidential relation between the plaintiff and defendant because of the trust and confidence reposed by the plaintiff in the defendant.
3. The defendant has established that the execution of the deed, the modified agreement and supplemental agreement were each the intelligent and understood act of the plaintiff, fair, conscientious and beyond the reach of suspicion and no deception was used.
4. The plaintiff has failed to prove fraud in the transactions, the exercise of undue influence by the defendant, or facts sufficient to establish that the execution of said instruments was not the free, willing and understood act of the plaintiff.
5. The plaintiff is not entitled to the cancellation of the deed.
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