Appeals, Nos. 112 and 113, March T., 1953, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Crawford County, Sept. T., 1951, No. 52, in case of Titusville Trust Company, Admr. d.b.n., Estate of C. P. Collins, also known as Clarence P. Collins, v. Edith Johnson, also known as Edith Johnson Nash and Cecil Johnson. Judgment affirmed.
J. Perry Eckels, with him Charles B. Stegner, for appellant.
George J. Barco, with him Yolando G. Barco, Edward J. McDonald and Barco & Barco, for appellee.
Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL
A narrow question is involved -- was the evidence sufficient to prove a gift mortis causa?
An action of replevin without bond was instituted by the Titusville Trust Company, Administrator d.b.n. of the Estate of C. P. Collins against Edith Johnson and her son, Cecil Johnson, to recover certain stock certificates of various corporations of the approximate value of $25,000., which were registered in the name of the decedent at the time of his death. An answer was filed setting forth that Cecil Johnson did not claim any right in these certificates, but his mother, Edith Johnson, housekeeper of the decedent, claimed to be owner of the certificates by virtue of a gift mortis causa from Collins two days before his death. The jury returned a verdict for defendant; plaintiff's motion for a new trial and for judgment n.o.v. were dismissed; only the question of a judgment n.o.v. is raised on this appeal.
Collins was a junk dealer. His mode of living was eccentric and comparable to that of a recluse. For many years he lived in a shanty consisting of three rooms in the midst of his junk yard in Oil Creek Township, near Titusville, Pa. The defendant went to work for Collins as a housekeeper in the spring of 1930. In
addition to living at the shanty and keeping house for the decedent, she also worked in the junk yard selling articles for him and generally helping him in his business.
Collins, aged 56, died on January 15, 1951, at 12:05 A.M., intestate, unmarried, and without issue. He left a brother, sister, and niece and nephew, children of a deceased sister. Although the sister lived nearby, she hadn't seen him for a long time and it is clear that his family paid no attention to him.
On January 12, 1951 Collins suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while in Titusville with Edith Johnson. Cecil Johnson, the housekeeper's son, in response to a telephone call from his mother, drove to Titusville where he found his mother and Collins, sitting in the latter's automobile. Collins was seated behind the steering wheel of his automobile with his head hanging down on his chest. Johnson offered to take him to the hospital, but the decedent asked that he be taken to the "yard", referring to his home. When they arrived at the yard, Johnson immediately telephoned for the doctor. In the meantime, Collins refused to move from his automobile, saying that he would be all right in a little bit. While they were waiting for the doctor Mrs. Johnson went into the house while her son remained in or stood nearby the car. According to the testimony of Cecil Johnson, Collins then began fumbling about his shirt. He was accustomed to wearing several shirts or sweaters and no overcoat. He pulled out of his ...