Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Kase v. French case brief

Kase v. French case brief summary
325 N.W.2d 678 (1982)

Appellant administrator sought review of a decision of the Circuit Court of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Pennington County (South Dakota), which entered judgment for appellee buyers in the administrator's action to vacate a contract for deed and to recover various cash transfers the buyers allegedly obtained from the administrator's decedent through undue influence.

Before her death, the decedent, an elderly widow, became friends with the buyers. She conveyed her home to them at a low price, with payments to be made at an interest rate of one percent. After her death, the administrator filed an action alleging that the deed, and other cash transfers to the buyers, had been obtained through undue influence. The trial court entered judgment for the buyers.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed. 
  • The court held that a confidential relationship existed between the parties due to the contacts between the parties and the buyers' promise to take care of the decedent and thus that the buyers had a duty to refrain from taking advantage of their dominant position. 
  • The court further held, however, that the buyers met their burden to go forward with evidence that the sale of the home had been free from undue influence. 
  • The court noted that the decedent had been healthy and mentally alert, that she had lived in the home rent-free for over a year, that the buyers had undertaken some financial responsibility for the decedent after she entered a nursing home, and that the decedent had received independent legal advice before entering into the transaction.
The court affirmed the judgment.

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