Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Olliffe v. Wells

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
130 Mass. 221 (1881)


Facts

In her will, Ellen Donovan devised the residue of her estate to Reverend Eleazer M.P. Wells (defendant) with the proviso that he distribute this gift “to carry out wishes which I have expressed to him or may express to him.” While the will gave Wells discretion to determine the manner in which he would distribute the residue to carry out Donovan’s wishes, which she had orally conveyed to him, the will did not authorize him to receive the gift outright. Donovan’s heirs (plaintiffs) challenged this devise to Wells and requested that the residue be awarded to them. Wells responded in his answer that Donovan had orally expressed to him her wish that the residue of her property be used for charitable purposes, in particular for the benefit of needy people served by the Saint Stephen’s Mission of Boston. Wells confirmed that he intended to use the residue of Donovan’s estate to carry out these purposes and the heirs did not challenge Wells statement of facts in his answer. The case was ultimately appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to determine the validity of the devise to Wells.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Gray, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 202,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.