Russo v. Miller

559 A.2d 354 (1989)

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Russo v. Miller

Maine Supreme Judicial Court
559 A.2d 354 (1989)

Facts

Sandra Russo (plaintiff) was hospitalized and treated for chronic and severe psychiatric problems. Russo’s neighbor was familiar with Russo’s situation. As soon as the hospital released Russo, the neighbor expressed an urgent and desperate need to buy some of Russo’s 10-acre property. Within just a few weeks, and with no one to advise her, Russo agreed to sell some of the property to the neighbor and the rest to James Miller (defendant), to whom the neighbor had introduced Russo. The property conveyance allowed Russo to remain on Miller’s property as his tenant at will. Six months later, when Miller took steps to terminate Russo’s tenancy, Russo sued Miller for rescission of the conveyance. Miller responded by suing Russo for forcible entry and detainer. A district court appointed a guardian ad litem for Russo and transferred both actions to the superior court, which consolidated the actions. Evidence at the ensuing trial proved that the neighbor had secretly acted as Miller’s agent, and that both had or were likely to reap significant gains from having obtained Russo’s land. The trial ended in a judgment for Russo. Miller appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wathen, J.)

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