(C1rC'l.l4t Court. D. Mf,nnesota. June 16, 1890,>
!'BINOIPAL A.ND AGENT-NoTICE TO AGENT.
; In a suit for dower it appeared that complainant's son Induoed his mother, who .was not familiar with builiness affairs, to sign a quitclaim deed for her dower interest in land to which he was entitled as heir, by misrepresentations as to the nature of the instrumeI\t. TJ;i.e son borrowed money, and mortgaged the land without reservation of his mother's! interest. The money loaned belonged to defendant, but the now ana mortgage, \vel'll made to her husband, acting as her agent, and were immedfately transfered to her, Her husband knew of complainant's interest in the land," 'Held, tbat complainant was entitled to recover the value of her dower interest defendant, who was bound biV the notice her husband had of such interest.
Squire8, for complainant.
J. M. Gilman, for defendant.
NELSON, J. This is a suit in equity, brought by the complainant, Sarah M; Jones, a citizen of Pennsylvania, against Matilda M. A. Van Doren, a citizen of Indiana, and SamuelJ. Jones al1dSamuel G. Glover, citizens of Illinois. The relief prayed for in the bill is for permission to redeem from a mortgage, should she be entitled to redemption, and that.the defendant Mrs. Van Doren might be ordered to reconvey the land still held by her, on the payment of such sums as might appear from ,aI;l.l\ccount taken, and also for. such other or different relief as the nature of the case might require, and might be agreeable to equity. The:only .reliefwhioh the complainant is entitled to, in my opinion, is her right of dower in the premises covered by the mortgage foreclosed by Mrs; VanDoren, and I shall confine myself to that view of the case. The bill charged fraud by Samuel J.Jones in procuring a deed to beexecuted to himself by his mother, the complainant, of her dower interest in the premises covered by the Van Doren mortgage, which descended to her son, Samuel J. Jones, on the death of·Robert H. Jones, intestate; and notice of this fraud by Mrs. Van Doren, who took the mortgage through her husband, and foreclosed it by sale of all the land. Mrs. Van Doren is the only defendant answering the bill, and she denies all knowledge of the fraud of Samuel J. Jones, and denies that the dower interest is of any value, and, in fact, puts in issue by her answer the nlateria,l allegations in the bill of complaint. A replication is filed, the case is heard upon the testimony taken. The defendant Samuel J. Jones is the only witness introduced .by the complainant to sustain the allegations of the bill, and Mrs. Van Doren is the only witness for the defense. There is no effort made to contradict Samuel J. Jones, or impeach his veracity, and full effect ill.uat be given to; his evidence. The facts are these: Robert H. Jones died in April, 1803, intestate, and, at the time of his death, was seised in fee of .an.undivided one-fourth of certain lands in Minnesota. He left surviving him the complainant, his widow, and the defendant Samuel J. Jones, his son and only heir at.
JONES V. V AN DOREN.
law. His widow, the complainant, became entitled to a dower interest in the land, and the defendant Samuel J. Jones was the owner in fee of the same, subject to the dower interest of his mother. With a view of managing the property and protecting her interest in a division, Samuel J. Jones induced his mother to execute a deed to himself of all her interest in the land; without informing her (she being a woman not familiar with business affairs) of the character and nature of the instrument; leading her to SlJppol1e, according to his testimony, that the instrument was in the of a power of attorney, for the purpose of aiding and division of the property. This instrument, which was a release and a quitclaim of all her dower interest ,in the property left by Robert H. Jpnes, her husband, was executed and delivered on the 13th day. of January, 1866, and filed in the proper copnty in Minnes0tll, January 29, 1867. On July 25, 1871, Samuel J. Jones borrowed $10,000, and. executed his note for that sum, and gave as security a mortgage, or trust-deed, upon property involved in this suit, to the defendant Samuel G. Glover, as a trustee. The money loaned belonged to the said Matilda A. Van Doren. W. H. Van Doren, who took the note payable to his own order, and immediately transferred it to the defendant Matilda A., his wife, acted as her agent in making the loan and taking the security; and so informed Samuel J. Jones. W. H. Van Doren was fully informed of the interest of the complainant in the mortgaged premises, and, according to the testimony of Samuel J. Jones, agreed, as the witness expresses it, "that our interests would be protected." Samuel J. Jones borrowed the money for his own purposes, and warranted the title in the mortgage without any exception or reservation of the interest in his mother. In October, 1871, William R. Marshall, one of the owners of an undivided interest in the property, commenced an action against Samuel J. Jones and others for a partition; and, in due course of time, a partition of said property was duly made, and a decree was entered, whereby 110 acres of the said property was set off in severalty to the defendant Samuel J. Jones, as the heir at law of the said Robert H ..Jones. In July, or August, 1875, default having beem made in the payment of the $10,000 note by Jones to Van Doren, suit was commenced to foreclose the trust-deed, and in due course of time judgment was obtained, the property sold, and 100 acres purchased by Matilda A.Van Doren, the mortgagee, and the title finally confirmed in her. After the title had matured, she sold and conveyed 40 acres of the property, for $10,000, to William R. Marshall, who was an innocent purchaser. About six months before the commencement of this suit, after the death of W. H. Van Doren, Horace B. Jones, a nephew of the complainaIlt, .and an attorney at law, went to see Mrs. Van Doren, at Indianapolis, in regard to the interest of the complainant in the property, and whether there was any chance to make any arrangement in regard to it. Mrs. Van Doren refused to recognize complainant's right, claim, ol," interest in the property, and then, for the first time, Samuel .J. J his mother with the state of II !fairs, and this suit was brought.
, The relation of, parent and is one of mutual confidence, and, while' no positive fraud is shown, I think this case develops facts which, in law, are regarded constructively fraudulent. The rule is that actS, in certain cases, growIng out of some special and confidential relation between the parties, are carefully watched, because they afford the means oftaking undue advantage of others; and when an absolute conveyance is obtained for one purpose, and afterwards made use of for another, a court will relieve against it, under the head of fraud. Transbetween paretit and child are· of this class, and a court of equity will grant relief when a child obtains from a parent, who is wholly unacquainted with business affairs, a conveyance of her estate for a ndminal sum. Abused confidence may exist,. and the surrounding circumstances may repel the idea that it was intended as a gift. Courts of equity do not sanction, but will interpose, ina transaction between a child and his parent, where great confidence has been reposed. When the least imposition is a court of eqtiity will extend protection· in such case, and administer the relief to which the party is entitled; and, if constructive fraud is a fair inference from the facts proved, the court is authorized to draw such conclusion. The act of .Samuel J. Jones in using the property to raise money for his own purposes, and his conduct in keeping his mother in ignorance of the Van Doren mortgage, and of all proceedings relating to the foreclosure, are constructively frll,udulent, and as reprehensible as positive fraud. The husband of the defendant Mrs. Van Doren, although he took the in his own name, and immediately assigned it, acted 8S her agent in loaning the money, and·' in managing the transaction with Samuel J.Jones. He knew that the complainant had an interest of some kind in the mortgaged propertY,-either one-third in fee, or a lifeestate. Jones so informed him at the time the mortgage or trust-deed was given, and Mrs. Van Doren is bound by the notice her husband had of the complainant's interest in the mortgaged property. The complainant nevar lost her dower interest' in the land left by her husband; the consideration was entirely inadequate, and the testimony shows there wasno intention to part with the interest as a gift, by the conveyance which was given. The defendant through her husband, acting as her agent, had notice of the fact. ' There was no statutory bar of dower, as the statute of limitations did not commence to run until the complainant discovered, just before this suit was brought, that her interest in the property would not be recognized by Mrs. Van Doren, who purchased most of it at the foreclosure sale. In the partition suit, 110 acres being set off to the heir at law, S. J. Jones, his mother, the complainant, had a dower interest. in this tract, after the decree made in that suit. Inasmuch as out of the 110 acres 60 acres only are now held by Mrs. Van Doren, and the remainder was conveyed to innocent purchasers, the value of the dower interest of the complainant must be obtained from this 60 acres. The interest of the complainant is one-
BRIGHT 'V. LAND & RIVER IMP. CO.
third of the, rental value of 100 acres. Ten acres were purchased by :Mr. Galusha at the foreclosure sale, and not involved in this suit, and 40 acres were sold to Mr. Marshall for $10,000. There is no evidence in regard to the rental value of the 60 acres owned by Mrs. Van Duren. Being vacant land, and not under lease, it is questionable whether the dower interest is of any value. The amount of money received by Mrs. Van Doren for the 40 acres sold appears from the testimony; and, according to the Northampton annuity tables, upon the usual interest, at 6 per cent., the value of her dower in that portion of the tract can be easily determined, and a lien fixed upon the 60 acres. I find, therefore, that the complainant is entitled to the value of her dower interest in the part not conveyed, and for damages for having been fraudulently deprived of her interest in the rest.
et al. .".
& RIVER IMP. Co. et at.
(Owcuit Court, W. D. WtBconsin. June 6, 1890.)
PARTNBRSBIP-8URV1VING. l'ARTNBRO)' FIRM-SALE 011' REAL RSTATIL
L$nd purchased by a lIul"Viving partner at sherift's sale, under an attachment in a Buit by such partner on a debt due the partnership, does not become partnershlp real estate, which will descend to the heirs of the deceaaed partner, 80 as to prevent the partner from converting it into money by a sale.
Michael S. Bright, (I. C. Sloan, of counsel,) for complainants. F. W. Duurner and Pinney Sanborn, for defendants.
BUNN, J. This is a suit brought by the complainants, who are citizens of Indiana, as the heirs at law of Michael S. Bright, deceased, seeking to charge an undivided one-half interest in a certain 80 acres of the hands of the defendant the land lying in Douglas county, Wis., Land & River Improvement Company, with a trust in favor of the said complainants as. such heirs at law. The case turns wholly upon questions of equitable cognizance, and the leading facts are as follows:. In 1856 one Michael S. Bright, the father of the complainants Michael S. Bright and Sarah B. Bright, and the husband of the complainant Sarah L. Bright, formed a law partnership with the defendant Hiram Hayes, at Superior, Douglas county, Wis., which continued until 1862, when the partnership known as Bright & Hayes was practically dissolved, New York, and Hayes going to Washington, and driftBright ing theIlCe mla the war of the Rebellion. Hayes returned to Sqperior after the wa,r, and reSumed the practice of law; but there was never any settlement or winding up of the affairs of Bright & Hayes. On August 1, 1858, one Ambrose B. Burbank became indebted.to the firm of of$500,for legal services. In November of, Bright &