Gilbert v. Marquis, No. 1385.

CourtRhode Island Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCONDON, Justice.
Citation200 A. 959
PartiesGILBERT v. MARQUIS et ux.
Docket NumberNo. 1385.
Decision Date16 July 1938
200 A. 959

GILBERT
v.
MARQUIS et ux.

No. 1385.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

July 16, 1938.


Appeal from Superior Court, Providence and Bristol Counties; Charles A. Walsh, Judge.

Bill by Alexander M. Gilbert against Homer Marquis and wife to recover personalty and to set aside certain conveyances by Malvina V. Babcock to defendants, wherein Jacqueline Gilbert, administratrix of the estate of Alexander M. Gilbert, deceased, was made party complainant on death of Alexander M. Gilbert, and William P. H. Freeman, administrator of the estate of Malvina V. Babcock, was made a party complainant by order of the superior court. From an adverse decree, defendants appeal.

Affirmed and remanded.

McKiernan, McElroy & Going, Peter W. McKiernan, John C. Going, and James M. Stockett, Jr., all of Providence, for complainants. Charles F. Risk and Jacob Goodman, both of Pawtucket, for respondents.

CONDON, Justice.

&gt

This is a bill in equity to set aside three certain deeds of real estate made by one Malvina V. Babcock, who was deceased at the time of filing the bill, to the respondents, and also to secure certain personal property which the respondent, Homer Marquis, claimed was given to him by the deceased. The case was heard by a justice of the superior court on bill, answer, replication and proof, and was decided in favor of the complainant as to two of the deeds and the personal property. A decree in accordance with such decision was entered in that court and the respondents duly appealed therefrom to this court.

Malvina V. Babcock was unmarried and her adopted son, Alexander M. Gilbert, was her only heir-at-law, at the time of her decease. After the filing, of the bill of complaint, but prior to a hearing thereon, Alexander M. Gilbert, deceased, and Jacqueline Gilbert, his widow, in her capacity as administratrix of his estate, was made a party complainant. Also, after the filing of the bill of complaint, but prior to hearing thereon, William P. H. Freeman, who was the duly appointed and qualified administrator of the estate of Malvina V. Babcock, was made a party complainant by order of the superior court. When the case came on for hearing, the complainants were Jacqueline Gilbert, administratrix of the estate of Alexander M. Gilbert, and William P.

200 A. 960

H. Freeman, administrator of the estate of Malvina V. Babcock.

Three issues of fact were raised by the complainants, namely, (1) lack of mental capacity to make the deeds in question, (2) undue influence upon Malvina V. Babcock by the respondent Homer Marquis, and (3) lack of consideration for the deeds of real estate and the gift of personal property. The first ground does not appear from the record to have been pressed by the complainants. The trial justice made his decision in a carefully prepared rescript, in which he found that there was a lack of consideration to support two of the deeds and that undue influence had been exercised over Malvina V. Babcock by Homer Marquis in procuring the alleged gift of the personal property and also in obtaining the two deeds of the real estate.

The respondents contend, as we understand them, that this decision is contrary to the evidence, the law and the evidence and the weight thereof. They have analyzed the evidence at great length in their brief and by such analysis seek to show that there is no legal evidence to support the charge of undue influence. They also urge that there was ample evidence of consideration for the deeds of real estate by way of services performed by the respondent Homer Marquis for and on behalf of the deceased.

The complainants, on the other hand, contend that there is ample evidence to sustain the allegation of undue influence and lack of consideration and that, therefore, the finding of the trial justice should not be disturbed. Of course it is well settled that in an equity cause findings of fact made by a trial justice on conflicting evidence are entitled to great weight and will not be disturbed by this court unless they are clearly wrong. Greene v. Rhode Island Hospital Trust Co., R.I., 197 A. 464. The respondents do not question this rule but claim, as we understand them, that the trial justice did clearly err in his findings and that his decision fails to do justice between the parties.

The record in this case is voluminous. The trial in the superior court consumed thirteen days, more than twenty-five witnesses testified and numerous exhibits were introduced in evidence. At the conclusion of the trial, counsel waived oral argument and at the suggestion of the trial justice submitted their arguments in writing. Ten weeks after the trial, the trial justice handed down his decision in a rescript containing findings of facts and his reasons for such findings. We have carefully considered this rescript and have examined the transcript to determine whether the decision of the trial justice is clearly erroneous, and we are of the opinion that it is not.

It appears from the evidence that the respondent Homer Marquis came to work for Malvina V. Babcock some time in May or June 1931, and that his duties were largely those of a handy man around the premises owned by her and also those of an errand boy, more or less. He claims to have been hired in the capacity of her agent at a weekly wage of $40, and that he was paid that wage until...

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4 practice notes
  • Tinney v. Tinney, No. 99-345-Appeal.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • April 27, 2001
    ...the general issues." (Emphasis added.) 22. The plaintiff alleges in his brief that, unlike the donor in Gilbert v. Marquis, 61 R.I. 302, 200 A. 959 (1938) who was found to have been unduly influenced by a handyman, Ruth had all of her mental capabilities at the time she deeded an interest i......
  • Cianciarulo v. Tarro, No. 2885
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • March 22, 1961
    ...disturbed by this court on appeal unless they are clearly wrong. Arlia v. Pate, 85 R.I. 388, 132 A.2d 91; Gilbert v. Marquis, 61 R.I. 302, 200 A. 959. We are unable to perceive in the circumstances, however, that the trial justice misconstrued the law applicable here or that he overlooked o......
  • Albro v. Matteson, No. 1356.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • May 10, 1940
    ...are clearly wrong, it is the long and well-established rule in this court that they will not be set aside. Gilbert v. Marquis, 61 R.I. 302, 200 A. 959. In the instant cause we find nothing in the testimony of the 13 A.2d 393 witnesses or in the exhibits which would justify us in reaching su......
  • Daniels v. Aharonian, No. 1387.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • July 16, 1938
    ...If counsel's apparently inconsistent attitude in this respect leads us, in such a future case, to consider the appeal on the evidence as it 200 A. 959 stands, and to finally determine the merits thereof, without affording the parties further opportunity to present their evidence, counsel ma......
4 cases
  • Tinney v. Tinney, No. 99-345-Appeal.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • April 27, 2001
    ...the general issues." (Emphasis added.) 22. The plaintiff alleges in his brief that, unlike the donor in Gilbert v. Marquis, 61 R.I. 302, 200 A. 959 (1938) who was found to have been unduly influenced by a handyman, Ruth had all of her mental capabilities at the time she deeded an interest i......
  • Cianciarulo v. Tarro, No. 2885
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • March 22, 1961
    ...disturbed by this court on appeal unless they are clearly wrong. Arlia v. Pate, 85 R.I. 388, 132 A.2d 91; Gilbert v. Marquis, 61 R.I. 302, 200 A. 959. We are unable to perceive in the circumstances, however, that the trial justice misconstrued the law applicable here or that he overlooked o......
  • Albro v. Matteson, No. 1356.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • May 10, 1940
    ...are clearly wrong, it is the long and well-established rule in this court that they will not be set aside. Gilbert v. Marquis, 61 R.I. 302, 200 A. 959. In the instant cause we find nothing in the testimony of the 13 A.2d 393 witnesses or in the exhibits which would justify us in reaching su......
  • Daniels v. Aharonian, No. 1387.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • July 16, 1938
    ...If counsel's apparently inconsistent attitude in this respect leads us, in such a future case, to consider the appeal on the evidence as it 200 A. 959 stands, and to finally determine the merits thereof, without affording the parties further opportunity to present their evidence, counsel ma......

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