Thursday, December 26, 2013

Devecmon v. Shaw case brief

Devecmon v. Shaw case brief summary
14 A. 464 (1888)

Plaintiff, a nephew of a decedent, sued defendant executors for money the decedent allegedly owed him. After the Circuit Court for Alleghany County (Maryland) entered a default judgment, a jury was sworn to assess the damages sustained by plaintiff. Plaintiff excepted to the rulings of the trial court refusing to permit certain evidence offered by plaintiff and refusing to allow plaintiff to recover interest.

Plaintiff worked for the decedent. The trial court refused to allow plaintiff to testify that plaintiff took a trip to Europe at the decedent's request and upon the decedent's promise to reimburse plaintiff all the money expended by plaintiff on the trip.

  • On appeal, the court reversed the trial court's judgment. 
  • The court held that the trial court erred in excluding the evidence. 
  • The testimony would had tended to show that plaintiff incurred the expenses at the instance and request of the decedent and upon an express promise by the decedent to repay the money spent. 
  • The court held that there could be a recovery in indebitatus assumpsit because testimony showed that plaintiff had fulfilled his part of the contract and nothing remained to be done except for payment by the decedent. 
  • The court found that plaintiff's declaration contained a sufficient description of a cause of action for recovery of the money. 
  • The court also held that plaintiff was not entitled to recover the interest claimed in his bill of particulars because the account shown in the decedent's books, which was the only evidence on the issue, showed a final settlement of all matters embraced in it.
The court reversed the judgment of the trial court and ordered a new trial.

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