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Palmer v. Flint

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
161 A.2d 837 (1960)


Facts

Nathan Palmer and his wife, Alice (defendant), were the grantees of a deed conveying title “as joint tenants, and not as tenants in common, to them and their assigns and to the survivor, and the heirs and assigns of the survivor forever.” Nathan and Alice divorced, at which time Alice executed a quitclaim deed conveying all her rights in the property to Nathan. Nathan later executed a deed to Frank Palmer who, in turn, conveyed the property in joint tenancy to Nathan and his sister, Roxa Palmer (plaintiff) using the same habendum clause as the original deed. Roxa Palmer filed suit seeking judgment affirming her ownership of the property or a reformation of the deed if it were determined to have conveyed any type of estate other than fee simple to Nathan and Alice Palmer. The lower court concluded that the original deed to Nathan and Alice Palmer had conveyed a life estate to the couple with the survivor holding a fee simple contingent remainder. The lower court further concluded that Alice Palmer’s contingent remainder could not be conveyed by way of the quitclaim deed she executed to Nathan Palmer. As a result, the court held that the subsequent conveyances to Frank Palmer and back to Nathan and Roxa Palmer as joint tenants had the effect of vesting an estate in Roxa Palmer for the lifetime of Alice Palmer, now Alice Flint, with a contingent fee simple remainder in Alice. Roxa Palmer petitioned the supreme court for review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Siddall, 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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