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[U] Lewis v. Kim
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
February 26, 2014
CRAIG LEWIS, Appellee
LUA KIM, Appellant
Appeal from the Order entered April 11, 2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Civil Division, at No(s): 12531-2010
BEFORE: ALLEN, JENKINS, and FITZGERALD [*] , JJ.
Lua Kim ("Appellant"), appeals from the trial court's verdict in favor of Craig Lewis ("Lewis"), following a non-jury trial regarding the partition of a residence which had been owned by Appellant and Lewis as tenants in common. We affirm.
The trial court set forth the factual history and posture of this case as follows:
Craig Lewis ("Lewis") and [Appellant], ([Appellant] with Lewis collectively "the Parties") met and began dating in 2007 and were engaged in 2008. When the Parties met, Lewis owned property in his name alone in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ("Philadelphia property") and [Appellant] owned property in her name alone in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania ("Jenkintown property"). On November 3, 2009, the Parties purchased property located at 506 Blackburn Court, Chalfont, Pennsylvania 18914 (the "Property") as tenants in common. When the Property was purchased, the Parties were engaged to be married with a wedding scheduled for September 2010. The purchase price for the Property was Six Hundred Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($600, 000).
Lewis paid the initial Twenty One Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($21, 000) down payment for the Property. [Appellant] did not contribute any monies toward the Property down payment. In order to fund the purchase of the Property, Lewis listed his Philadelphia property for sale and [Appellant] also sold her Jenkintown property. At the time the Parties had closing on the Property, Lewis' Philadelphia property had not been sold. Lewis transferred the Philadelphia property title to his father, David Lewis, in exchange for Three Hundred Twenty Five Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($325, 000). This $325, 000 payment from David Lewis to Craig Lewis was made by a check payable to Craig Lewis individually. When the Philadelphia property sold, David Lewis received Two Hundred Twenty Five Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($225, 000) from the sale.
After the sale, David Lewis considered the remaining One Hundred Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($100, 000) not repaid from the Philadelphia property sale as a gift to Craig Lewis. David Lewis' intent to give the $100, 000 as a gift to Craig Lewis is evidenced in a gift letter dated September 17, 2009 which reads, "I, David A. Lewis, do hereby certify the following: I will make a gift of $100, 000 to my son, Craig Lewis, in time to close the mortgage transaction on the purchase of this home." The gift letter was signed by Craig Lewis, [Appellant], and David Lewis. The loaned and gifted funds, totaling $325, 000, from David Lewis to Craig Lewis, were placed in Craig Lewis' individual bank account, which was only in his name (held with Citizen's Bank). [Appellant's] name was never on the bank account.
At the time of settlement on the Property, Lewis withdrew Three Hundred Sixteen Thousand Five Hundred Twenty Six Dollars and 00/100 ($316, 526.00) from his individual bank account. Three Hundred One Thousand Five Hundred Twenty Six and 00/100 Dollars ($301, 526.00) was used towards the Property purchase and the remaining Fifteen Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($15, 000.00) was used towards purchase of furniture included in the Property sale. [Appellant] did not contribute any monies toward this bank account withdrawal that paid for the Property purchase and the furniture included in the sale. The remaining Three Hundred Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($300, 000.00) of the purchase price for the Property was funded through a mortgage that is in the names of both Lewis and [Appellant].
The Parties moved into the property in November 2009 with mortgage payments beginning in January 2010. [Appellant] resided in the Property for four months, until March 16, 2010, when the relationship between the Parties ended. During her tenure in the Property, [Appellant] made four payments of One Thousand Three Hundred and 00/100 Dollars ($1, 300.00) each to Lewis towards her share of living expenses, which totaled Five Thousand Two Hundred and 00/100 Dollars ($5, 200.00). When the relationship ended on March 16, 2010, [Appellant] vacated the Property and has not attempted to live in or move back to the Property. After [Appellant] vacated the Property, Lewis provided [Appellant] with a check for Two Thousand Five Hundred and 00/100 Dollars ($2, 500.00) reimbursing [Appellant] for a computer and three garage door openers with Four Hundred Fifty and 00/100 Dollars ($450.00) representing the equity that accumulated on the Property from the date of purchase through the date [Appellant] vacated the Property. [Appellant] cashed the $2, 500.00 check, and neither objected to the calculation nor the payment of her share of the equity in the Property.
Since [Appellant] vacated the Property in March 2010, Lewis has been in sole, exclusive possession of the Property. Since March 2010, Lewis has not denied [Appellant] access to the Property, and the locks on the Property have not been changed. Since [Appellant] vacated the Property, she has not made any payments towards the Property, including mortgage payments, taxes and insurance payments.
Lewis has paid both his and [Appellant's] share of the taxes for the Property, totaling Eight Thousand Four Hundred and 00/100 Dollars ($8, 400.00) with a Three Thousand One Hundred Seventy and 31/100 Dollar ($3, 170.31) refund. The monthly mortgage payment inclusive of taxes and insurance is Two Thousand Three Hundred Seventy Six and 12/100 Dollars ($2, 376.12) per month. Lewis has paid Eighty Three Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty Seven and 86/100 Dollars ($83, 957.86) toward the mortgage for the Property from April 2010 through February 2013. Lewis, in addition, expends One Thousand Thirty and 00/100 Dollars ($1, 030.00) per month towards the utilities for the Property. [Appellant] has not expended any funds towards the utilities on the Property while she lived there or after the Parties ended their relationship.
The current value of the Property is Five Hundred Thirty Three Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($533, 000.00), as stipulated by the Parties during trial. The fair market rental value of the Property is Three Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($3, 000.00) a month. The mortgage balance on the Property as of October 2, 2012 is Two ...
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