Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Brackenbury v. Hodgkin case brief

Brackenbury v. Hodgkin case brief summary
102 A. 106 (Me. 1917)

Defendants, mother and son, appealed the decision from the Law Court (Maine) that sustained the bill in equity brought by plaintiffs, daughter and son-in-law, to secure a reconveyance of real property from the son to his mother, to enjoin the son from prosecuting his action of forcible entry and detainer, and for an adjudication that the mother held legal title impressed with a trust in favor of plaintiffs in accordance with their contract.

The mother sent a letter to plaintiffs and proposed that plaintiffs move from Missouri to Maine to take care of the mother. The letter closed with the statement that plaintiffs would receive the house upon the mother's death. Plaintiffs moved to Maine. After family difficulties, the mother ordered plaintiffs from the home but they refused to leave. The mother executed and delivered to her son a deed of the premises, reserving a life estate. On that same day, the son served a notice to quit upon plaintiffs, as preliminary to an action of forcible entry and detainer. Plaintiffs brought an action against the mother and the son. The trial court sustained plaintiffs' bill in equity.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment. 
  • Plaintiffs had accepted the mother's offer by moving to Maine and entering upon the performance of the specified acts, and had continued to perform so far as had been permitted by the mother. 
  • The contract between the parties, the performance of which was entered upon by plaintiffs, created an equitable interest in the land in favor of plaintiffs. 
  • Finally, the trial court had special statutory jurisdiction to grant relief in cases of trusts.

The court affirmed the trial court's judgment that found a valid contract existed between plaintiffs and the mother and impressed a trust upon the mother's land in favor of plaintiffs.

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