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WILLIAMS v. LUCAS (03/22/54)

March 22, 1954

WILLIAMS, APPELLANT,
v.
LUCAS



Appeal, No. 278, Jan. T., 1953, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1952, No. 2339, in case of Irma E. Williams v. Michael Lukas, Real Estate Trust Company, Guardian of Estate of Anna Super, a weak-minded person, Peter Super, Jr., and Anna Homa. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

D. Arthur Magaziner, with him Mayer, Magaziner & Brunswick, for appellant.

Russell C. Gourley, for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Chidsey

[ 376 Pa. Page 415]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY

This is an action brought under Procedural Rule 1061 to quiet title to premises known as 1710 Point Breeze Avenue, Philadelphia. Plaintiff, Mrs. Irma E. Williams, (who remarried after this action was brought and is now known as Irma E. Bohn, wife of Henry E. Bohn), became the owner of the property in 1944. In 1946 she deeded it to Michael Lukas as trustee. The terms of the trust, which appear in the deed, are that plaintiff and Peter Super, or the survivor of them, might occupy the property during their lives; that the trustee could sell only at the written direction of plaintiff and Super; that upon the death of either party the trustee could sell at the direction of the survivor after paying half the value to the heirs of the deceased party; and that upon the death of the survivor -- presumably if no other disposition has been made -- one half share should go to the heirs of the plaintiff and the other half to the heirs of Super.

Super died intestate on July 23, 1951, leaving his wife, Anna Super, a feeble-minded person, a son, Peter Super, Jr., and a daughter, Anna (intermarried with John Homa), as his only heirs and next of kin. The defendants named in the action are the two children, the guardian of the widow, Michael Lucas, and the administrator of Peter Super's estate. Before the trial commenced, plaintiff filed a disclaimer as to the administrator who was thereupon dropped as a party defendant. The defendant, Michael Lukas, the trustee in the deed, filed no answer and the plaintiff filed an order for judgment with the prothonotary, the propriety

[ 376 Pa. Page 416]

    and effect of which the court took under advisement. See Goodrich-Amram Procedural Rules Service, § 1065-6, § 1066(a)-1. The case proceeded to trial as to all defendants exception the administrator.

Plaintiff sought a judgment or decree declaring the deed executed by her invalid and cancelled, and barring defendants from asserting any right, title or interest in the property conveyed, alleging that there was no consideration for the deed and she was induced to execute and deliver it by duress, coercion and fraud practiced by Peter Super. All of the defendants excepting Lukas filed an answer denying the allegations of the complaint and also averring that the deed was made in recognition of monies alleged to have been invested by Super in the property and to protect him for advances which he had made. The jury rendered a verdict for the defendants. The plaintiff filed motions for judgment n.o.v. and for a new trial, both of which were overruled and final judgment entered on the verdict. Plaintiff appeals therefrom.

The plaintiff lived in the premises involved. In 1944 Peter Super became a lodger in plaintiff's home and lived there until his death in 1951. At the time he came to plaintiff's house he was about 47 years old, married, with two grown children and a wife in a mental institution. Plaintiff was a widow about 8 years older and conducted a beauty parlor at the residence.

In support of plaintiff's contention that the deed in question was executed by her as the result of duress, coercion and fraud, plaintiff called 15 witnesses from whose testimony it appeared that Super was a ne'er-do-well and an alcoholic; that when they saw him, he was generally drunk; that he couldn't keep a job and was dependent upon ...


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