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RAYMOND I. SHEPLEY v. MELINDA BAKER DOBBIN AND MID PENN BANK (02/26/86)

filed: February 26, 1986.

RAYMOND I. SHEPLEY, APPELLANT
v.
MELINDA BAKER DOBBIN AND MID PENN BANK, TRUSTEE FOR GEOFFRY E. DOBBIN, GREGORY E. DOBBIN AND JEREMY A. DOBBIN, MINORS



Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Dauphin County at No. 4225.

COUNSEL

John J. Krafsig, Jr., Harrisburg, for appellant.

Heath L. Allen, Harrisburg, for appellees.

Wickersham, Cirillo and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Wickersham

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 183]

This is an appeal from a final decree in equity denying appellant, Raymond I. Shepley's request for a constructive trust or in the alternative, for an accounting.

Appellant, owner in fee simple of two tracts of land in Halifax Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (hereinafter "the Halifax farm") conveyed the remainder interest in that property to Betty L. Baker, his stepdaughter and Carl E. Baker, her husband on May 1, 1971. Appellant retained a life estate for himself in the property. On the same day, however, appellant entered into a concurrent agreement with the Bakers, which inter alia provided the

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 184]

Bakers with the right to reside on the farm with appellant at their cost and expense. Under the terms of this agreement, the Bakers were also required to furnish appellant with food and laundry service.*fn1

Carl E. Baker died on October 17, 1973 and his wife died the following year. After her mother's death, appellee, Melinda Baker Dobbin, appellant's step-granddaughter orally agreed with appellant, in July 1975, to assume the obligations of her deceased parents. At the same time, with appellant's consent, appellee and Edward Dobbin, her husband, acquired the remainder interest of Betty L. Baker in the farm from Mid Penn Bank, executor of Baker's estate. The Dobbins were divorced in 1978. Appellee remained on the Halifax farm with the three minor children of their marriage: Geoffry E. Dobbin, Gregory E. Dobbin and Jeremy A. Dobbin. On October 25, 1978, appellee and her ex-husband conveyed a one-half interest in the farm to appellee alone and the remaining half interest to Mid Penn Bank as trustee for the three minor children.

On June 25, 1982, appellant filed a complaint in equity, alleging that appellee had been unjustly enriched by receiving the benefits accruing from possession of the Halifax farm without satisfying her concomitant obligations to appellant under the agreement which she had assumed. Appellant also claimed that appellee had converted certain personalty in which he held an interest.

[ 351 Pa. Super. Page 185]

After hearing two days of testimony from a dozen witnesses, the chancellor, The Honorable Clarence C. Morrison, ultimately found that the testimony of appellant was not credible. Lower ct. op., October 4, 1983 at 4. Concluding that appellee had not been unjustly enriched, he dismissed both of appellant's claims. Id. See Lower ct. op., September 20, 1984 at 3. Appellant duly filed timely exceptions to the decree,*fn2 ...


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