Monday, January 6, 2014

Williams v. Cole case brief

Williams v. Cole case brief summary
760 S.W.2d 944 (1988)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiffs, sister, nieces, and nephews of the deceased, appealed a judgment from the Circuit Court of Wright County (Missouri), which ruled in favor of defendant grantee in an action by the sister, nieces, and nephews to set aside a deed on the ground that it was never delivered to the grantee.

CASE FACTS
The sister, nieces, and nephews of the deceased brought an action against the grantee to set aside a deed on the ground that it was never delivered to the grantee.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The trial court ruled in favor of the grantee. The sister, nieces, and nephews of the deceased appealed, contending that the undisputed evidence that the deed was unrecorded and in the grantor's possession at the time of his death raised a presumption of non-delivery and shifted the burden of persuasion to the grantee.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court held that the evidence was simply insufficient to rebut the presumption of nondelivery. 
  • The grantee admitted that he had never seen the deed before he "picked it up" at the grantor's house after the grantor's death. 
  • The grantee never saw the metal box in which the grantor kept his valuable papers. 
  • The grantor never showed the deed to the grantee. 
  • The grantor retained possession of the deed, without recording it, until his death. 
  • He did not place the deed in the custody of a third person, with directions to deliver it to the grantee.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the trial court's judgment, which had ruled in favor of the grantee in an action by the sister, nieces, and nephews to set aside a deed, and remanded the case to the trial court with directions to set aside the deed.

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