Fales v. Norine
Nebraska Supreme Court
644 N.W.2d 513 (2002)
During Irwin J. Norine’s (defendant) divorce, Norine executed two promissory notes in which he promised to pay large sums with interest to his mother, Virginia. Virginia died intestate before Norine paid any of the money owed. Virginia was survived by several family members, including Norine and Tonia Fales (plaintiff). Norine was appointed as personal representative of Virginia’s estate. Norine listed the notes among the assets comprising Virginia’s estate on documents that Norine signed and filed with the county court. Thereafter, Norine mismanaged the estate, which resulted in his removal as personal representative. Fales succeeded Norine as personal representative and sued Norine to enforce payment of the notes. Norine admitted during a deposition that occurred about a month after Virginia’s death to having the original notes. Nevertheless, the notes could no longer be located before trial. At trial, Norine admitted that copies of the notes were true and accurate. Notwithstanding, Norine denied owing money on the notes and contended that the notes were merely protection for his assets during his divorce to show more debt than existed. Norine further admitted to executing a mortgage as security for the notes and to giving Virginia a security interest in his personal property. To support his case, Norine stated that he learned from his son a few weeks before trial that Virginia may have destroyed the notes. Norine’s son also testified about a comment Virginia made once that she planned to destroy the notes because she did not want Norine to repay them. After a jury returned a verdict in Fales’s favor, the court entered the judgment but restricted payment to Fales until after the statute-of-limitations period for enforcing the notes had expired. Norine appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Connolly, J.)
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