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Ireland v. Flanagan

Court of Appeals of Oregon
627 P.2d 496 (1981)


Cherie Ireland (plaintiff) and Sharon Flanagan (defendant) were in a committed, unmarried relationship. During the relationship, Ireland and Flanagan purchased a house in Flanagan’s name and lived together in that house until August 1978. After the relationship ended, Flanagan continued to live in the house. Ireland sued, seeking an award of a one-half interest in the house. Both sides provided conflicting and confusing testimony to the trial court. However, the trial court concluded that Flanagan bought the house, with Ireland contributing $2,000 to the down payment and Flanagan contributing $5,000. Some evidence indicated the parties intended to put the house solely in Flanagan’s name for tax purposes. Other evidence indicated that the parties planned to put the house in both names, but never got around to it. The trial court found the parties had agreed that they would pool their assets for their joint benefit. Both parties testified that their practice was to deposit paychecks into the parties’ joint checking account and pay bills from that joint account, including house payments. Even though neither party had argued a gift theory, the trial court held that Ireland’s contributions to the purchase and improvement of the home were presumed to be gifts to Flanagan, and Ireland had not overcome that presumption. Moreover, the trial court held that Flanagan did not promise to convey any legal or equitable interest in the property to Ireland. Thus, Ireland only had a right to use the property jointly with Flanagan during their relationship. The trial court denied relief to either party. Ireland appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Warren, J.)

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