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Farnum v. Silvano

Massachusetts Court of Appeals
27 Mass. App. Ct. 536 (1989)


Facts

Viola Farnum (plaintiff), a 90-year-old woman with dementia, sold her home for approximately half of the home’s market value to Joseph Silvano (defendant), a 24-year-old man who frequently mowed Farnum’s yard. In completing the sale, Farnum was represented by an attorney selected and paid for by Silvano. After learning of the sale, Farnum’s nephew, Harry Gove (plaintiff) filed suit against Silvano on Farnum’s behalf seeking to rescind the sale. At trial, the evidence showed that Farnum’s mental competence had begun to deteriorate three years prior to the sale. Farnum was frequently confused and often asked why her long-deceased siblings no longer called her. Additionally, while at home Farnum often inquired about the “noise upstairs,” but the home had no second story. Nevertheless, the trial court found that, at the time of executing the deed, Farnum was lucid and was aware of what she was doing. Gove appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kass, J.)

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