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Ferguson v. Jeanes
Washington Court of Appeals
619 P.2d 369 (1980)
John Jeanes (defendant) and Nancy Ferguson (plaintiff) were in a confidential professional and romantic relationship. When Ferguson wanted to buy an apartment building, Jeanes told her she was incapable of financing or managing the building by herself. Jeanes pressured Ferguson into giving him a half-interest in the building. Ostensibly for tax reasons, Jeanes refused to sign the purchase papers, and he made only a small down payment toward his share of the costs. Ferguson trusted that Jeanes would eventually make up the balance. In separate incidents, Jeanes also bullied Ferguson into forgiving his debt to her and forced her to take out a loan to buy water heaters for the apartment building. Jeanes told Ferguson that her reluctance to bend to his wishes showed ingratitude and was contrary to her religious principles. After the pair broke off their romantic relationship, Ferguson filed suit to quiet title to the building. The trial judge found that Jeanes acquired his share in the building by exercising undue influence over Ferguson. The court rescinded the partnership agreement, quieted title in Ferguson’s favor, and awarded Jeanes judgment for the return of his down payment. Jeanes appealed the rescission of the agreement and the award of quiet title to Ferguson.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ringold, J.)
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