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Sweeney v. Sweeney

Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors
11 A.2d 806 (1940)


Facts

Maurice Sweeney owned a farm where he and his brother, John (defendant), operated a tavern. In 1937, the two of them went to the town clerk and asked that two deeds be drawn up: one conveying the land from Maurice to John, the other conveying the land from John to Maurice. The second deed was purportedly requested for Maurice’s benefit in the event that John died first. They recorded the first deed, but not the second. Maurice gave both deeds to John. John kept the first deed and gave the second to his attorney, apparently with the intention that if John should predecease Maurice, the deed would be transferred to Maurice. (The second deed was later lost in a fire at the attorney’s office.) Subsequent to 1937, Maurice continued to fully operate the tavern until his death. Maurice leased out portions of the premises to boarders, and John never received any income from those leases. Maurice died, and his estranged wife, Maria (plaintiff), the administrator of his estate, sued for title of the land. John defended on the grounds that the deed was intended to be transferred to Maurice only upon his death and only if he died first. The trial court held that there was no intention to make delivery of the second deed, and thus that John remained the owner of the premises. Maria appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Jennings, 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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