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GRACEY v. RUTHERFORD (01/02/51)

January 2, 1951

GRACEY, APPELLANT,
v.
RUTHERFORD



Appeals, Nos. 10 and 11, Jan. T., 1950, from decrees of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Dec. T., 1945, Nos. 72 and 75, in cases of Harry Allen Gracey et al., Exrs. et al. v. George Rutherford and Same v. Robert W. Cuthill. Decrees affirmed.

COUNSEL

Edward F. Hitchcock, with him A. Sidney Johnson, Jr., John Lamon, Butler, Beatty, Greer & Johnson and Lamon & Lamon, for appellants.

George H. Class, with him George E. Kearns, Jr., Lindenmuth & Class and Robert W. Cuthill, in propria persona, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 366 Pa. Page 197]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

These two appeals, which were argued together, are from decree dismissing two bills in equity which sought to set aside and declare void deeds of conveyance of real estate.

Plaintiffs are the executors named in the will of John Rutherford, deceased, and his daughter and granddaughters being beneficiaries under the will. In one suit the defendant is a son while in the other suit defendant is a stranger in blood to the testator, but who disclaims any personal interest and has filed a declaration of trust for the benefit of the settlor and for John Rutherford's son George. In both bills it is averred that the grantor was in his 82nd year at the date of transfer and was weak in body and mind, easily influenced, and not possessed of sufficient mental capacity to make the transfers intelligently. The defendants were charged with exercising undue influence and with fraud. Answers were filed and the two cases were heard together. Separate adjudications and opinions were filed. The appeals followed the dismissal of the bills.

On July 13, 1943, John Rutherford executed and delivered to his son George (defendant), a deed for a piece of land situate in Delaware County. The consideration was $1.00. On December 1, 1943, the same grantor executed and delivered another deed to his son George, conveying a strip of land of about 6 feet in depth which, it was testified, was for the purpose of giving a back entrance to the other tract of land so conveyed.

On December 1, 1943, John Rutherford executed and delivered to Robert W. Cuthill, his real estate agent (defendant), a deed for another piece of land situate in Delaware County. The grantee executed and delivered a declaration of trust that he held the land

[ 366 Pa. Page 198]

    for the use of John Rutherford during life and thereafter for the use of the son George.

All of the real estate conveyed consisted of a portion of a larger tract of land belonging to John Rutherford and which had been divided into building lots. A ...


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