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BARRETT v. HEINER (05/21/51)

May 21, 1951

BARRETT, APPELLANT,
v.
HEINER



Appeal, No. 57, Jan. T., 1951, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Sept. T., 1948, in Equity, No. 13, in case of Patrick L. Barrett v. Alyce Heiner et vir. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Will Leach, with him Leach & Lenahan, for appellant.

David J. Conroy, with him James W. Scanlon, for appellees.

Before Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 367 Pa. Page 511]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Plaintiff filed a bill in equity against his niece, Alyce Heiner, and her husband praying that they reconvey to him the property, 1406 Prospect Avenue, Scranton, Pa., which he had shortly prior thereto conveyed to them and that they pay him reasonable compensation for rent of said property.

The court found that no confidential relationship existed between plaintiff and defendant; that the conveyance of the property was not induced by defendants but was the free, voluntary and clearly understood act of the plaintiff; and that the defendant paid a fair price for the property. From a decree dismissing the bill of complaint, plaintiff has taken this appeal.

[ 367 Pa. Page 5121406]

Prospect Avenue was purchased by plaintiff's brother, Thomas Barrett, for $2500 in 1930. Shortly thereafter defendants and their two sons moved into the property under an agreement to provide a home for Thomas Barrett. Defendants paid no rent, except for six months in 1940 when Thomas. Barrett left the property as a result of an altercation.

Plaintiff was a civil service employee of the Federal Government and in the later years of his service was stationed in Cuba. During and prior to that time he sent money to defendant, Alyce Heiner, to keep for him. These remittances totaled $3937. On September 10, 1945, plaintiff bought the Prospect Avenue property from his brother for $2500. The purchase price was, at plaintiff's direction and on his behalf, paid by Alyce out of the $3937 he had sent her. The balance of approximately $1400 was paid to plaintiff by Alyce in April 1947. Plaintiff had demanded, received and kept an exact account of the amounts due him over the years from Alyce for money which plaintiff sent her, less the cost of medicine and other necessities which Alyce purchased for plaintiff. Plaintiff became ill and returned to his home in October 1946; and from that time until February 1948, Alyce took care of him (except for one month when he was a patient in Jefferson Hospital, in Philadelphia).

For several years prior to February 1948, plaintiff repeatedly told Alyce and others that he was holding the property, 1406 Prospect Avenue, for her, and that any repairs or improvements she and her husband might make would be for their own benefit; that he wanted no rent for the property, but wished them to pay the taxes, which they did. In the first part of February 1948 plaintiff, unaccompanied, went to the ...


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