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Matter of Estate of Zent

North Dakota Supreme Court
459 N.W.2d 795 (1990)


Facts

Ann Johnson (plaintiff) met John Zent in 1979. Johnson and Zent had a personal relationship until Zent’s death in 1988. Johnson filed a claim against Zent’s estate (Estate) (defendant) for compensation for services that she had rendered to Zent prior to his passing. Johnson testified that, as Zent suffered from strokes and Alzheimer’s disease, she became his “houseservant and nursemaid.” Johnson testified that Zent was physically incapacitated for the last three years of his life and mentally incapacitated for the last year. Johnson’s testimony was corroborated by Zent’s treating physician. The Estate disallowed Johnson’s claim in its entirety. Johnson requested a hearing in county court, which found that there was no express or implied contract and no unjust enrichment. The county court found that Johnson had conferred her services gratuitously. Johnson appealed, arguing that the county court had erred in finding that there was no unjust enrichment or implied-in-law contract.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Levine, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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