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[U] Zuro v. Lasosky

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 28, 2014

ANNA ZURO, BY HER ATTORNEY-IN-FACT ANDREW LASOSKY,
v.
BARRY LASOSKY AND LORI LASOSKY, Husband and Wife, APPEAL OF: ANDREW LASOSKY Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order entered on November 28, 2011 in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Civil Division, No. 2007-9252

BEFORE: PANELLA, OLSON and MUSMANNO, JJ.

MEMORANDUM

MUSMANNO, J.

Anna Zuro ("Zuro"), through her attorney-in-fact, Andrew Lasosky ("Andrew"), appeals from the trial court's Order entering a compulsory nonsuit against Zuro and in favor of Barry Lasosky ("Barry") and Lori Lasosky ("Lori") (collectively, "the Lasoskys"). We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

The trial court summarized the history underlying the instant appeal as follows:

[Zuro] was the mother of two children, Andrew[, ] and Ann Toth, and the grandmother of six. [Zuro] was born in 1917. She lived independently until the year 2000, when she sold her home and moved in with her son Andrew and his wife[, ] Nadine [Lasosky ("Nadine")]. [Zuro] had enjoyed a close relationship with her grandson[, ] Barry; he had worked close to her home and often went there for lunch. In 1998, [Zuro] loaned [the Lasoskys] money so that they could purchase a personal care home. [In September 1999, Zuro entered into a mortgage agreement with Mon Valley Community Federal Credit Union for $137, 001.87. The mortgage was secured by the personal care home property in East Bethlehem Township and Zuro's residence.] [Zuro] intended to move into that personal care home[, ] but was unhappy with the accommodations offered to her and instead moved in with Andrew and Nadine. She remained with them until late 2008, when she went into a nursing home. Shortly thereafter, on January 10, 2009, [] Zuro died.
After she moved in with Andrew and Nadine[, ] Zuro did not see Barry very often. Andrew and Nadine took [Zuro] to all medical appointments and provided all means, as [Zuro] never drove a car. [Zuro] shared her $800 a month income (Social Security) by paying $400 a month rent. Nadine [] testified that [Zuro] began getting confused in early 2006. Andrew [] testified that [Zuro] started slipping mentally in 2004. Nadine testified that [Zuro] began acting out particularly at nighttime, when [Zuro] wandered out in the middle of the night and got hurt and had to be hospitalized.
On June 8, 2006, [the Lasoskys] came and picked up [Zuro] and took her out to dinner. They were gone quite a long time and Andrew and Nadine speculated that Barry must have taken his grandmother on a long ride, an activity which she greatly enjoyed. They learned later that Barry and [Zuro] visited a lawyer's office and executed the deed in question[.[1]

Trial Court Opinion, 3/20/13, at 2-3 (footnote added).

Subsequently, Zuro, through Andrew as her attorney-in-fact, filed the instant action against the Lasoskys. Zuro sought to set aside the deed she executed on June 8, 2006, asserting that the deed was obtained through the undue influence of the Lasoskys.[2] On March 13, 2012, the trial court conducted a bench trial on the matter. At the close of Zuro's case-in-chief, the Lasoskys moved for a compulsory nonsuit. The trial court granted the Lasosky's Motion, dismissing Zuro's cause of action. Zuro filed post-trial Motions, which the trial court denied. Andrew, for Zuro, filed the instant timely appeal, followed by a court-ordered Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal.

a. Whether [t]he [trial c]ourt erred in concluding that [Andrew] failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that [] Zuro had a confidential relationship with her grandson, Barry[?]
b. Whether the [trial c]ourt erred in concluding that [Andrew] had failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that [Zuro] suffered from a weakened intellect at the time of the execution of the June 8, 2006, deed conveying her interest in property to her grandson and his wife[?]

Brief for Appellant at 3. In the Argument section of his appellate brief, Andrew addresses ...


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