Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Hebrew University Association v. Nye case brief

The Hebrew University Association v. Nye case brief summary
169 A.2d 641 (1961)

Plaintiff university filed suit against defendant executors, seeking a declaratory judgment determining the ownership of certain books and other articles making up a library that belonged to the decedent and for an injunction. The Superior Court of New Haven County (Connecticut) entered a judgment finding the university to be the owner of the library. The executors appealed.


The decedent inherited a large library from her late husband, a professor. During her lifetime, she told the university that she was making a gift of the library to it and even went so far as to attend a luncheon in her honor and make a formal announcement of her gift. However, she never actually tendered possession of the library to the university, although she did prepare it for shipping. Upon her death, the decedent bequeathed the bulk of her estate to a charitable trust or foundation. The university was not mentioned in the decedent's will.


  • On appeal, the court held that the trial court's judgment declaring that the university was the owner of the library was without support in the findings and could not stand. 
  • The court held that, at most, the decedent had the requisite donative intent such that, had she subsequently made a delivery of the property while that intent persisted, there would have been a valid, legal gift inter vivos. 
  • The court refused to remand the case for the entry of judgment in the executors' favor, however, due to certain inconsistencies in the findings of the trial court. 
  • Therefore, the court remanded the case for a new trial.

The court set aside the trial court's judgment in favor of the university and ordered a new trial.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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