286 S.W.2d 96 (Tenn.App. 1955), Anderson v. Nichols

Citation:286 S.W.2d 96, 39 Tenn.App. 503
Opinion Judge:[4] SHRIVER, Judge.
Party Name:Mrs. Jane Sheegog ANDERSON v. Claude W. NICHLOS and Wife.
Attorney:[2] [39 Tenn.App. 505] Lon P. MacFarland, Jerry Colley, Henry C. McCall, Jr., Columbia, for plaintiff. [3] William H. Dale, Pride Tomlinson, Jr., Columbia, William C. Sugg, Nashville, for defendants.
Case Date:September 09, 1955
Court:Court of Appeals of Tennessee

Page 96

286 S.W.2d 96 (Tenn.App. 1955)

39 Tenn.App. 503

Mrs. Jane Sheegog ANDERSON


Claude W. NICHLOS and Wife.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Middle Section.

September 9, 1955.

Certiorari Denied by Supreme Court Dec. 9, 1955.

Page 97

[39 Tenn.App. 505] Lon P. MacFarland, Jerry Colley, Henry C. McCall, Jr., Columbia, for plaintiff.

William H. Dale, Pride Tomlinson, Jr., Columbia, William C. Sugg, Nashville, for defendants.


The parties will be referred to as complainant and defendants as they appeared in the Court below.


The original bill herein was filed on October 15, 1953 by complainants, Jane Sheegog Anderson, and Jane Anderson Harris, who are respectively the mother and sister of William Sailer Anderson, deceased, whose body was found in Kentucky Lake in Humphreys County, Tennessee, on October 13, 1953.

The original bill alleges that the said William Sailer Anderson died intestate, apparently, on October 12, 1953.

On January 7, 1954, pursuant to an order of Court, an amended bill was filed wherein it was alleged that, since the filing of the original bill, the will of William Sailer Anderson, deceased, was found and admitted to probate, and that letters testamentary had been issued to Jane Sheegog Anderson as executrix and sole beneficiary of the estate of said deceased son.

Among other things, the bill alleges that, on October 9, 1953, and prior thereto, William Sailer Anderson owned certain real estate and personal property in Maury County,[39 Tenn.App. 506] Tennessee, known as Brookwood Farm and Brookwood Farm Restaurant which was valued in excess of $150,000.

That, on October 13, 1953, defendant, Claude W. Nichols, filed for registration in the Register's Office of Maury County, Tennessee, a deed which purported to be executed by William Sailer Anderson, conveying all of the property described in the bill as Brookwood Farm and Brookwood Farm Restaurant to defendant Nichols and wife. Said instrument, on its face, appeared to have been executed by the said William Sailer Anderson on October 9, 1953 in consideration of $1 cash in hand paid and the exchange of other real estate.

The original bill as amended, prayed that the deed above mentioned be declared void as having been obtained by fraud and misrepresentation and for a grossly insufficient consideration, and that all right, title and interest of the defendants in and to said real estate and personal property be divested out of them vested in complainants.

It is also alleged that, at the time of the conveyance in question, Anderson was in such confused and distraught mental condition that he did not understand or comprehend the import and meaning of the transaction.

The bill prayed for an injunction, which was issued, and for a writ of attachment. Subsequently, a receiver was appointed.

The answer, in rather broad and general terms, denies all the material allegations of the bill.

The cause was tried before Chancellor R. E. Lee, at Columbia, Tennessee, and resulted in a decree wherein the prayers of the bill were granted and the deed to the property in question was declared null and void.

[39 Tenn.App. 507] From the decree of the Chancellor, the defendants perfected an appeal to this Court and assigned errors.


Assignments of Errors

Assignment No. I, is as follows:

'The Chancellor erred in adjudicating that the paper writing dated and acknowledged on October 9, 1953 by Anderson conveying Brookwood Farm & Restaurant to the defendants was

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not the free act and deed of the said William Sailer Anderson and in declaring the same void and for nothing held.'

Assignment No. II asserts that the Chancellor erred in overruling the objections of the defendants to the testimony of Dr. Morris Adair, Leroy Bess, Milton Miler, Leroy Montgomery and Raymond Skiles as to statements made by Anderson to them.

Assignment No. III avers that the Chancellor erred in holding certain circumstances shown by the record to be badges of fraud.

Assignments Nos. IV, V, VI, and VII complain of certain findings of fact by the Chancellor and assert that these findings constituted errors.

Assignment No. VIII asserts that it was error for the Chancellor to hold that Nichols' failure to offer proof of a witness, Mrs. Garnand, created a presumption that her testimony, if introduced, would operate to the prejudice of Nichols.

Assignment No. IX is to the effect that the Chancellor erred in holding that Nichols was onerated with the burden of proving the bona fides of the transaction and that he failed to do so.

[39 Tenn.App. 508] III

On the morning of October 13, 1953 the body of William Sailer Anderson was found floating in Kentucky Lake, at Trotter's Landing, in Humphreys County, Tennessee. Anderson's car was found submerged in the lake near by.

On this same day defendant, Claude W. Nichols, appeared at the Court House in Maury County and registered a deed dated October 9, 1953 which, on its face, transferred to Nichols for $1 and the exchange of certain properties in Nashville, Columbia and Shelbyville, Tennessee, the Brookwood Farm and Restaurant in Maury County which belonged to the deceased William Sailer Anderson.

Complainant charged that Nichols plotted and schemed to acquire Anderson's valuable Maury County property by fraud and deceit, for a grossly inadequate consideration; that Nichols went to Memphis to contact Anderson and represented that he wanted to buy Anderson's property; that his plan of deceit made a show of his supposed wealth to impress Anderson that he could buy the property for cash and, thereafter, led Anderson to think that he was going to purchase the property for $200,000 cash, while, it is charged, Nichols planned to pawn off or trade to Anderson three pieces of heavily mortgaged property in Nashville, Columbia and Shelbyville for Anderson's unencumbered property of much greater value; that Nichols, in order to create a screen of respectability around his plan of fraud, had title...

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