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BERBERICH v. BERBERICH. (12/01/55)

December 1, 1955

BERBERICH, APPELLANT,
v.
BERBERICH.



Appeal, No. 96, March T., 1955, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1948, No. 372, in case of Clarence Berberich v. Emma Berberich. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Fred F. Wolf, with him Louis Rosenberg and Lorraine L. Bieno, for appellant.

Fred Chalmers Houston, Jr., with him Charles B. Jarrett and Houston & Houston, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 383 Pa. Page 349]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

[ 383 Pa. Page 350]

Clarence G. Berberich, the original plaintiff in this case, and Emma Berberich, the original defendant, were married on October 14, 1909, and lived together until December, 1946, when Mrs. Berberich left the common domicile, taking with her articles of furniture, bank accounts, shares of stock, building and loan association passbooks, bonds, life insurance policy, and other personal papers.

On July 14, 1948, the plaintiff-husband filed a bill of complaint praying that the Court order his wife to restore to him all personal property which she had removed from their home, as well as decree that the wife reconvey to him in his name alone the two pieces of real property held by them in entireties. The plaintiff claimed that the real properties belonged to him exclusively and that his wife's name had been added to the deeds as a matter of convenience to him. This was also true, he averred, with regard to title to certain items of personalty. The wife denied that her name formed part of the title ownership only as a matter of convenience to her husband, and asserted that while it was true he had made the original monetary outlay for the real and personal property, she had become part-owner because of the services she had rendered as a devoted wife, faithfully attending to her household duties and performing many arduous tasks which the husband ignored.

On October 14, 1948, the parties were divorced a vinculo matrimonii. When the case came on for a hearing on March 23, 1949, the attorneys in the case prepared a stipulation in an attempt to settle the complicated proprietary rights in an amicable and equitable manner. The husband signed the stipulation but the wife refused to affix her signature to the document. The hearing was continued.

[ 383 Pa. Page 351]

On October 19, 1949, the plaintiff died, and T. T. Newhams, executor of his estate, was substituted as plaintiff. He filed an amended bill of complaint, asserting that the original parties, because of the negotiations which had taken place at the time of the Court hearing on March 23, 1949, had in effect entered into an agreement even though the wife refused to sign the written evidence of the agreement. The substituted plaintiff prayed that the items of supposed agreement be enforced by appropriate decree. The case was scheduled for another hearing.

On September 20, 1952, Mrs. Berberich was adjudicated an incompetent and a guardian was substituted as defendant in her behalf. On September 26, 1952, the plaintiff's executor died and Emma E. Newhams, executrix of the estate of T. T. Newhams, was substituted as plaintiff. On March 7, 1954, Mrs. Berberich died and Ralph ...


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