Monday, November 11, 2013

Swinton v. Whitinsville Savings Bank case brief

Swinton v. Whitinsville Savings Bank case brief summary
42 N.E.2d 808 (Mass. 1942)

Plaintiff vendee sought review of a judgment of the Middlesex Superior Court (Massachusetts), which sustained a demurrer by defendant vendor to the vendee's declaration against the vendor for concealment of termites in the house he purchased.


The vendor sold a house to the vendee that was infested with termites, knowing the internal destruction that the insects had created. The vendee filed suit, alleging that the vendor had falsely and fraudulently concealed the true condition of the home. The trial court sustained the vendor's demurrer to the vendee's declaration.


  • On appeal, the court determined that the vendee had failed to allege any false statement, misrepresentation, or half-truth uttered by the vendor that would have been tantamount to a falsehood. 
  • There was no intimation that the vendor prevented the vendee from acquiring information as to the condition of the house. 
  • There was nothing to show a fiduciary relationship between the parties or that the vendee stood in a position of confidence toward or dependence upon the vendor, so the court refused to impose liability for bare nondisclosure.

The court affirmed the order sustaining the vendor's demurrer and entered a judgment for the vendor.

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