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SEMENZA v. ALFANO (06/28/71)

decided: June 28, 1971.

SEMENZA, APPELLANT,
v.
ALFANO, APPELLANT



Appeals from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, May T., 1965, No. 2, in case of Anthony J. Semenza v. Carmella P. Alfano.

COUNSEL

William A. Degillio, for plaintiff.

Charles J. Bufalino, Jr., with him Charles J. Bufalino, Sr., for defendant.

Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Chief Justice Bell took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.

Author: O'brien

[ 443 Pa. Page 202]

Anthony J. Semenza (Anthony) and Carmella P. Alfano (Carmella) were once married to each other. Their divorce on February 23, 1961, did not terminate their relationship. Apparently their marriage foundered on economic difficulties. Subsequent to their divorce, Anthony's business prospered and the couple

[ 443 Pa. Page 203]

    began to discuss the possibility of remarriage. In September of 1964, Carmella let Anthony know that if he were to "put a roof over her head and that of their son" she would remarry him. This was what Anthony wanted to hear. He wasted no time in making a $1,000 downpayment on a home a few days later. The couple received a deed on October 5, 1964, reciting a consideration of $26,500 and naming "Anthony J. Semenza and Carmella P. Alfano" as the grantees. Anthony advanced his own funds in an amount sufficient to make up the difference between the purchase price and closing costs and the $18,000 which he borrowed on a mortgage payable in monthly installments over a twenty-year period.

The re-establishment of the family unit died before it began. Although Anthony had paid all of the taxes and made all of the mortgage payments, he had not paid the persons with whom Carmella had arranged to decorate and furnish the home. When Carmella learned this, she changed her mind. The marriage was off. But Carmella's name was still on the deed.

Anthony filed a complaint in equity wherein he sought to require Carmella to reconvey to him her interest in the house which he had purchased but with her as one of the co-tenants on the deed. After taking testimony, the chancellor found that the transfer of the property to Carmella was a conditional gift and decreed that Carmella must reconvey her individual one-half interest in the real estate to Anthony. Both parties filed exceptions which were dismissed and the decree nisi was entered as a final decree; both parties appealed.

We need not deal with Anthony's appeal, which seems to be concerned with alleged errors by the chancellor in not accepting his theory of the case that Carmella perpetrated a fraud upon Anthony, unjustly

[ 443 Pa. Page 204]

    enriching herself by using undue influence and taking advantage of a confidential relationship. Our decision ...


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