Appeal, No. 407, Jan. T., 1962, from decree of Orphans' Court of Luzerne County, No. 1611 of 1959, in re estate of Filomena Gadola, also known as Philomena Gadola, deceased. Decree affirmed.
Louis G. Feldmann, with him Richard A. Kane, for appellant.
Henry A. Giuliani, with him Rocco C. Falvello and Anthony C. Falvello, for appellee.
Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE O'BRIEN
Filomena Gadola died intestate on October 24, 1959, survived by a daughter, Jennie Serra, her only heir at law. The appellant, Lena Gadola, is the child of the brother of Filomena Gadola's deceased husband. When Lena was three or four years old, she was taken into the home of Filomena and her husband and, except for
two periods of about two years each, resided with Filomena and her husband and Filomena alone, after the death of her uncle, for about forty-five years, or until Filomena's death.
Lena believed herself to be the natural daughter of Filomena and later, the adopted child of decedent. It was not until after Filomena's death that Lena learned that she was neither the natural nor the adopted child of decedent, but was, in fact, the niece of decedent's late husband.
In the normal course of the administration of Filomena Gadola's estate, an account was filed and called for audit. Lena Gadola presented a claim against the estate for the sum of $10,800, for domestic services allegedly rendered by her to the decedent during the years of 1954 to 1959, inclusive, at the rate of $150 per month. She appeared at the audit and offered testimony of an alleged express contract between her and the decedent to compensate her for the services forming the basis of the claim. This testimony was objected to and the objection was sustained on the authority of Sec. 5(e) of the Act of May 23, 1887, P.L. 158, commonly known as the "Dead Man's Act". 28 P.S. § 322. No other evidence was offered, and the auditing judge denied the claim. Lena Gadola filed exceptions to the audit and petitioned for a re-hearing of her claim, alleging after discovered evidence. The auditing judge allowed the audit to be reopened in order that Lena might have an opportunity to introduce new evidence in support of her claim.
At the second hearing, appellant offered the testimony of two witnesses in support of her claim. One testified to declarations made by the decedent to him to the effect that Lena did all of the work in the house and that when she, Filomena, died, everything would go to Lena. This witness could ...