749 P.2d 77
Plaintiff appealed an order of the District Court of Bernalillo County (New Mexico), which found that the original named defendant lacked the mental capacity to have validly executed a contract.
OVERVIEW: Plaintiff filed complaint seeking its commission for having performed under terms of contract by having provided a buyer to purchase original named defendant's property. During pendency of action, original named defendant was adjudicated incompetent and current defendant was appointed conservator of her estate. Following bench trial, lower court found original named defendant lacked mental capacity to have validly executed listing contract and entered judgment in favor of current defendant. Plaintiff appealed.
The Court held that although lower court had not specifically stated in its findings that presumption of competency was overcome by clear and convincing evidence, it was implicit when evidence was viewed in its entirety that burden of proof had been sustained.
Thus, original named defendant lacked mental capacity to enter into exclusive listing agreement and its addendum. Judgment of lower court was affirmed.
-Although the test of mental capacity is applied as of the date that the attacked contract is executed, evidence of a person's prior or subsequent condition is also admissible to show the condition at the time in issue.
-It is the combined weight of all the evidence in each case which determines the result.
-The court is entitled to take into consideration factors such as the individual's physical condition; the adequacy of consideration; whether or not the transaction was improvident; the relation of trust and confidence between the parties to the transaction and the weakness of the mind of the alleged incompetent person as judged by all other acts within a reasonable time prior and subsequent to the act in question.
OUTCOME: The court affirmed the finding that the original named defendant lacked the mental capacity to have validly executed a contract with plaintiff, holding that substantial evidence was presented from which the lower court properly concluded that the presumption of competency was overcome by clear and convincing evidence.
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