Manegold v. Beaven

Citation189 Ala. 241,66 So. 448
Decision Date07 November 1914
Docket Number109
PartiesMANEGOLD et al. v. BEAVEN.
CourtSupreme Court of Alabama

Appeal from City Court of Montgomery; Armstead Brown, Judge.

Suit by Estelle Manegold Beaven against George Manegold and others to impeach a decree for fraud. From a decree overruling demurrers to the bill, defendants appeal. Reversed and remanded.

A general statement of facts will be found in the opinion. The following are the paragraphs of the bill referred to:

(13) That at the time of the death of her said father, Joseph Manegold, oratrix was 11 years old. Her mother had been dead for six years. Her father, the said Joseph Manegold, had been married to Clara J. Manegold, oratrix's stepmother, for one month and two days. That Clara J. Manegold was then 23 years of age. That, prior to the death of said Joseph Manegold, his brother George Manegold, oratrix, and Clara J Manegold had resided as one family at the residence of the said late Joseph Manegold, and that the three persons named continued to reside at the homestead set apart to said Clara J. Manegold and your oratrix, and that said George Manegold was married to said Clara J. Manegold on the 18th day of February, 1901, and that they continued to so reside at said residence thereafter. That oratrix recognized and felt toward Clara and George Manegold as she would have felt toward her parents. That she recognized them as her nearest relatives lived with them for many years, and recorded them as her protectors. That she reposed implicit faith and confidence and during all of her life, from the death of her father until she married, she relied absolutely upon their counsel and advice. That she was under their complete domination and influence, and that she was inexperienced in business affairs and knew nothing and understood nothing of the conduct of her affairs during her minority and during the time thereafter while she continued to reside with her guardian until she was married.
(14) That on October 20, 1908, the day following oratrix's twenty-first birthday, she was told by her uncle George Manegold that he desired her to sign certain papers, whereupon she went with him to the office of his attorney and, without the benefit of competent, independent advice, executed such papers as the said George Manegold required her to sign. That she did not know at that time, and did not know thereafter, that she was executing receipts releases, and discharges of the said George Manegold as her guardian, and that she did not know and understand the purport of said papers she had executed until March 14, 1913, when the same were explained to her by her attorney. That at that time the said sum of $14,357.15 was not in fact paid to her, and has not now been paid to her. That she had her husband write a letter to her uncle George Manegold, requesting a settlement of her affairs, and that he replied by saying that he had receipts in full from her for all funds which had come into his hands as her guardian.
(15) That on August 5, 1909, said George Manegold requested oratrix to execute another paper to him, and that she then executed said deed dated August 15, 1909, whereby she conveyed to Clara J. Manegold her interest in the residence at 605 Monroe street, for a recited consideration of $2,750. That said sum has never in fact been paid to her, and that she does not know, nor has she been able to ascertain, how her said guardian charged or credited the same against said deed of August 5, 1909, made by said Clara Manegold to oratrix, for the said Clara's dower interest in the real estate of Joseph Manegold, deceased. That oratrix executed said deed at the request of her said guardian because of her faith and confidence in him, and relied upon his counsel and advice in said transaction, and had no other counsel or advice relative thereto. That she does not know whether the said recited consideration was ever paid to said George Manegold as her guardian or not.
(16) Oratrix further avers that said receipt and said consent to said decree was obtained by said Manegold because of her faith and confidence in him, and that the said George Manegold took advantage of orator's youth and inexperience in order to obtain the same, and that said receipt and consent decree constitute a fraud practiced upon your oratrix by said George Manegold, and that said decree was in fact a fraud upon this court.

Daniel W. Troy and Frank Stollenwerck, Jr., both of Montgomery, for appellants.

Holloway & MacKenzie, of Montgomery, for appellee.

DE GRAFFENRIED, J.

We make the statement of the facts in this case from the allegations of the bill of complaint. The case is here on appeal from a decree of a court of equity overruling a demurrer to the bill of complaint.

The complainant is the daughter and only child of Joseph Manegold, who died in November, 1898. Complainant's mother died several years before the death of the father, and she was only 11 years old when her father died. Joseph Manegold married about a month before his death, and at the time of his death his widow, Clara J. Manegold, and complainant were the only members of his household. After his death the residence in which he died was set apart to said widow and minor daughter as a homestead. They continued to live together in said home, and the relations of mother and daughter appear to have been fully established between them. Indeed, shortly after the death of her said husband, the said Clara J. Manegold qualified as the guardian of her said stepdaughter and assumed legal control of all of her pecuniary affairs. On the 18th day of February, 1901, the said widow, Clara J. Manegold, married George Manegold, the brother of her deceased husband, and the uncle of her said stepdaughter and ward. The new husband established himself in the home of his deceased brother and became the head of his said deceased brother's family. He was thus not only the husband of the complainant's stepmother, the woman who occupied for her the place of mother, but he was a brother of her father and her uncle by blood. He became the head of her household and was, out of respect to the double relationship, the recipient of her complete trust. She alleges, in fact, that she reposed the same confidence in him that a daughter is accustomed to repose in her own father, and that she entertained for him the same affection which a child is accustomed to entertain towards his or her own parents.

Some time in the latter part of the year 1906, it developed that her said guardian, the stepmother, had in her hands $12,316.46 of complainant's funds; that $3,300 of this money was properly invested in notes secured by mortgages; and that the balance of the fund had been loaned by her to Joseph Manegold & Co., a mercantile firm composed of said George Manegold and the said Clara J. Manegold, without security. In other words, it then developed that the stepmother and guardian and her said husband, the uncle of complainant, were then using about $9,000 of complainant's funds in a mercantile business, and there had been taken for the ward no independent security therefor. Shortly after this development, the said Clara J. Manegold resigned her guardianship and delivered into the registry of the court the said mortgages and $12,316.46 in cash, which represented all with which, as guardian, the said widow, Clara J. Manegold, was chargeable. She was thereupon discharged as guardian, and George Manegold, the husband, was appointed guardian in her stead. He executed a bond as guardian in the sum of $25,000, with the respondent the American Bonding Company of Baltimore as his surety thereon, and thereupon, on or about the 26th day of January, 1907, the said mortgages and the said $12,316.46 were turned over to him, and from that time the said George Manegold, as guardian, managed and controlled the estate of his said ward. Complainant reached her majority on the 19th day of October, 1908, and on the 20th day of October, 1908, the day after she became of age, the said George Manegold obtained from her a receipt for $14,357.15. This receipt is in the following language:

"Montgomery, Alabama, October 20/08.
"I, Estelle Manegold, having become of age on October 19, 1908, have had a settlement with George Manegold, as my guardian, and after having carefully inspected his acts and doings as such guardian, I hereby acknowledge receipt of ($14,357.15) fourteen thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven and 15/100 dollars, in full of all moneys due me by him as such guardian. I also acknowledge possession being turned over to me of the following real estate, which has been in his hands, as guardian: Four stores on North Court street, being Nos. 106, 108, 124, and 126 North Court street; four houses and lots on Bell street, being Nos. 317, 319, 321 and 323 Bell street; one lot on the extension of Jeff Davis avenue; one lot in the rear of St. Margaret's hospital, and all in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, and one lot in West End, Birmingham, Alabama. And I do hereby release and discharge the said George Manegold and the sureties on his bond as guardian, from any and all liability due me by reason of said guardianship. [ Signed] Estelle Manegold."

Subsequently, on August 6, 1909, a consent decree was rendered by the city court of Montgomery discharging the said George Manegold and the surety on his bond, and by said decree the guardianship was finally settled. On file with this consent decree is the following paper:

"I, Estelle Manegold, having become of age on October 19, 1908, and having received full settlement from George Manegold, do hereby consent that the court make the above decree."

The decree is based upon an account which was filed in said city court and that account is credited with $14,357.15...

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