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VOLOSHEN v. MANN. (04/21/58)

April 21, 1958

VOLOSHEN, APPELLANT,
v.
MANN.



Appeal, No. 58, March T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1956, No. 1451, in case of Dorothy Voloshen v. Ida Mann. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

J. Roland Johnston, for appellant.

Gilbert J. Helwig, with him Elder W. Marshall, and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 392 Pa. Page 254]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

The opposing litigants in this case are sisters which perhaps offers one reason why the figure of Justice is portrayed blindfolded so that she may not have to look upon the melancholy spectacle of members of the same family fighting, condemning, and reviling one another. However, we are concerned here only with the legal problems involved in the controversy and pass no judgment on the interwoven sentimental unities.

From 1927 to 1947 Dorothy Voloshen and Ida Mann (they were both married) were almost inseparable. The relationship between them was even profounder than one of consanguineous kinship. Ida, the older of the sisters, and the defendant in this lawsuit, did not enjoy the best of health, whereupon her younger sister,

[ 392 Pa. Page 255]

Dorothy, the plaintiff, volunteered to care for her as nurse, housekeeper, and companion. In doing so, Dorothy remained away from her home for long intervals, neglecting to that extent the duties she owed as wife and mother to her own family. In recognition of this sacrifice, Ida from time to time told her she would demonstrate her gratitude in a tangible manner by making Dorothy the sole beneficiary of her will, when she should write it.

In 1947 Dorothy felt compelled, because of complaints in her home over her extended absences therefrom, to cease attending upon Ida and so informed her. Ida's husband urged her to continue with the services she had been rendering for twenty years and, in compensation, promised her certain stock in the Pittsburgh Laundry Company and a trust fund which would net Dorothy a handsome annuity upon his death and an even more attractive one upon Ida's death. Dorothy, upon those representations, resumed attendance upon her sister and even accompanied her to Florida where Ida and her husband now maintained their residence, having left Allegheny County, their original domicile.

In February, 1953, Ida signed a typewritten letter in which she stated that upon her return to Pittsburgh she would execute a will, leaving her entire estate to Dorothy. However, in November, 1953, difficulties, which sometimes strain relations between the closest of friends and tragically between relatives as well, arose; and the bond of love and affection between the sisters broke. In this breakage, Ida repudiated her promise of a testamentary reward to her sister. Dorothy retaliated by instituting an ...


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