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Hocks v. Jeremiah

Oregon Court of Appeals
759 P.2d 312 (1988)


Facts

Robert Hocks wanted to give property to his sister Joanne Jeremiah (defendant). Hocks met Jeremiah and handed her four $5,000 bearer bonds. Hocks and Jeremiah opened a joint safety-deposit box at a bank and deposited the bonds inside the box. Hocks told Jeremiah the bonds were hers and that she could remove the interest coupons attached to the bonds to collect interest payments. Jeremiah told Hocks she didn’t need the interest money and that Hocks should collect it. Until his death, Hocks deposited a diamond and 22 more bonds into the safety-deposit box. Hocks had told Jeremiah when he made these deposits and that the deposits were for her. Jeremiah never accessed the box after opening it with Hocks. Hocks paid the rent on the box and accessed it to deposit new items and to remove interest coupons, which he then used to collect bond interest. At one point, Jeremiah asked Hocks to add a note to the box indicating that he was gifting the property in the box to her, because Jeremiah was concerned that Hocks’s wife, Mrs. Hocks (plaintiff), would contest the gifts should Hocks die. Hocks then added two handwritten notes to the box stating that upon his death the diamond and the bonds would belong to Jeremiah. After Hocks died, Jeremiah removed the diamonds and the bonds from the box. Mrs. Hocks sued Jeremiah for replevin and conversion of personal property, alleging that the diamond and the bonds were not given to Jeremiah but remained part of Hocks’s estate. The lower court held that the property had been gifted to Jeremiah and dismissed Mrs. Hocks’s claim. Mrs. Hocks appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rossman, J.)

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