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SHEDLOCK v. SHEDLOCK

February 4, 1988

FRANCES SHEDLOCK, Plaintiff
v.
BENEDICT J. SHEDLOCK, and JOSEPH B. SHEDLOCK, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONABOY

 RICHARD P. CONABOY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiff, Frances Shedlock, deeded a property she owned at 530 Donnelly Street, Duryea, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, to two of her sons, Benedict J. Shedlock and Joseph B. Shedlock, the Defendants. By this action she seeks return of the property on allegations that the conveyance was the result of undue influence exercised against her by the two named Defendants.

 After depositions of the main parties and witnesses, the Defendants on December 24, 1987 filed a motion seeking to have summary judgment entered in their favor. The motion has been briefed by all parties and is ripe for decision.

 For the reasons stated herein we will grant the motion.

 I

 On February 6, 1986, the Plaintiff instituted a civil action (in equity) in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, seeking the return of the property at 530 Donnelly Street from the two Defendants named herein. On March 2, 1987, the Defendants, both of whom reside outside of the State of Pennsylvania, removed the case to this Court on the basis of diversity of citizenship.

 Depositions of the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff's main witnesses as well as the deposition of Benedict Shedlock have been taken and filed with this Court.

 The allegations in Paragraphs 5, 6 and 11 of the Plaintiff's complaint set forth the basis of her alleged entitlement to return of the property:

 
5. That prior to January 8, 1985, the Defendants, and each of them, represented to the Plaintiff herein that considering her advanced age, should she become ill, hospitalized or enter a nursing home, her property would be subject to a lien for the purpose of paying the nursing home, hospital and medical bills and she would eventually lose her real property or it would become confiscated by her creditors.
 
6. That the Defendants, and each of them, further represented to the Plaintiff that she could avoid the potential loss or confiscation of her property by conveying the same to them by Deed, and Defendants further assured Plaintiff that if she made such conveyance they would re-convey the property to her upon her demand.
 
11. That the Defendants' actions as aforesaid in procuring and inducing the Plaintiff to make a conveyance of her property constituted undue influence, duress and misrepresentation in that:
 
a. Defendants had destroyed Plaintiff's free will in executing the Deed of January 8, 1985, by frightening and threatening her with the impending loss ...

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