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HILLIARD ESTATE. (11/14/55)

November 14, 1955

HILLIARD ESTATE.


Appeal, No. 138, March T., 1955, from decree of Orphans' Court of Allegheny County, 1954, No. 988, in re Estate of Mary M. J. Hilliard, Dec'd. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

I. E. Birsic, with him Thomas H. Cauley, and Cauley & Birsic, for appellant.

Robert A. Rundle, with him George I. Minch, and Wright & Rundle, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 383 Pa. Page 64]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

The Orphans' Court of Allegheny County dismissed a petition seeking specific performance of an alleged contract for the sale of real estate, owned by the estate of a decedent, which contract is averred to have been made by a co-fiduciary of the estate.

The basic facts are undisputed. The legal effect of letters, conversations and surrounding circumstances, is in controversy. Mary M. J. Hilliard, the decedent, was the owner of premises No. 204 South Homewood Avenue, Pittsburgh. Under her will she named the Union National Bank of Pittsburgh and Thomas A. Robinson executors, giving them full power of sale of real estate. On July 2, 1954, Mr. C. W. Doyle, an employe in the real estate division of the corporate fiduciary, mailed a circular letter to twenty-eight individuals, including seventeen or eighteen real estate brokers. The letter advised each of the addressees that the property in question was then available for purchase. The premises were described and the tax assessment given. The letter stated: "The property is being placed on the market at an asking price of $60,000.00, subject to a reasonable offer. ALL offers are subject to the approval of the Co-Executors. ..."

It also stated: "We will recognize as the broker in any transaction that person who first submits an offer on behalf of a purchaser, provided said offer is acceptable to the Co-Executors, a satisfactory agreement of sale executed, and the sale closed in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

"We will be glad to discuss the sale of this property with you at any time at your convenience."

C. L. Totten Company, real estate brokers, received one of the letters. On July 6, 1954, Mr. F. X. Totten of that company came to the bank, met Mr. Ralph F.

[ 383 Pa. Page 65]

Torrence, its real estate officer, and stated that George S. Lipman (appellant), his client, had authorized him to pay $2,000 as hand money and to inform the bank that his client "was ready to ...


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