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Monarco v. Lo Greco

Supreme Court of California
220 P.2d 737 (1950)


Facts

Christie Lo Greco (defendant) relied on the promises of his step-father, Natale Castiglia, that his mother and step-father’s entire estate, apart from small gifts to his siblings, would be devised to him if he remained at home to run the family business. Christie committed himself to making the family business a success and gave up any opportunity to pursue further education or to accumulate his own property, including a present interest in the family business. Natale eventually changed his mind about the agreement with Christie and decided to devise his entire estate to his grandchild, Carmen Monarco (plaintiff). Natale terminated the joint tenancies on property he shared with his wife, Carmela, and drafted a new will devising all of his property to Carmen. After that will was probated and a final distribution decree was entered, Carmen brought an action for partition of the property and an accounting. Natale’s widow and Christie’s mother, Carmela, filed a cross-complaint on the basis of Natale’s breach of the agreement to keep the property in joint tenancy so that it could ultimately be devised to Christie upon his mother’s death, as promised. The trial court entered judgment for Christie and Carmela, and Carmen appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Traynor, 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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