Appeals, Nos. 85 and 90, March T., 1960, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1957, No. 2873, in case of Peoples First National Bank and Trust Company, ancillary administrator c.t.a. of estate of Joseph F. Kula, deceased v. Katherine Ratajski. Decree, as modified, affirmed.
Philip R. McLaughlin, with him Paul R. Jenkins, and Campbell, Casteel & Thomas, for plaintiff.
William J. Krzton, with him Esler W. Hays, for defendant.
Before Jones, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.
This is an action in equity for the restitution of real and personal property. The main allegation is the abuse of a confidential relationship between uncle and niece, and this was the chancellor's basic finding.
The chancellor, Judge A. MARSHALL THOMPSON, died before exceptions to his adjudication could be disposed of. So did the plaintiff, in 1959, and his place on the record was taken by the corporate administrator, c.t.a. The chancellor found that defendant held the decedent's property as constructive trustee and directed her to return all of it except certain real estate and dividends from certain shares of stock, which she might keep on the theory of compensation for services rendered. The court en banc approved this solution. Defendant appealed from the order to restore any of the property, and the administrator appealed from the order allowing her to keep the real estate and the dividends.
The decedent came to this country from Poland in 1910 at the age of eighteen and after study was ordained a priest in the Polish National Church. His study and later his pastorate were predominately Polish, and while he learned English, it is apparent from
his testimony that he never became at home in the language.
Defendant was his niece and closest relative in this country. She married in 1937 and was widowed in 1945. He suffered a severe heart attack and was ill from that and from osteoarthritis during the last fifteen years of his life.
In 1936 decedent made defendant the beneficiary of his $10,000 life insurance policy. Between 1942 and 1946 he bought $750 in United States Savings Bonds in both their names. In 1943 he bought land in Lawrence County worth $15,000 and at about the same time gave defendant his power of attorney to manage this property. During this period she came to visit him with fair regularity. Having bought five shares of stock in 1923, he saw it increase to 560 shares ...