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Bugaj/Fischer Wins Pair of Non-Suits for Defendants

Bugaj/Fischer recently won two non-suits for defendants in two different cases, both in the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, Pennsylvania.

The first case was brought by the sister of a man who had passed away. She alleged that her mother had transferred a piece of property to her in 1990, where she lived. She added her husband's name to the deed on the property, and her husband then took out a mortgage on the property just in his name. The Bank foreclosed on the mortgage in 2006. Around that same time, she alleges that she contacted her brother, who then purchased the property so that it did not get sold at sheriff sale. The sister alleged that she gave her brother $30,000.00 for the deposit on the property, and that she continued to reside on the property, paying part of the mortgage, taxes, and insurance for the property. In 2014, her brother moved into the home with her. She alleges that she cared for her brother in that home until he passed away in 2018. She sued her deceased brother's estate and the executor thereof, claiming constructive trust and ownership interests in the property by virtue of her allegedly providing the $30,000.00 deposit monies.

Representing the deceased brother's estate and the executor, Bugaj/Fischer made a motion for compulsory non-suit after the sister rested her case during trial. The Court agreed with Bugaj/Fischer that the sister had failed to establish that she paid her brother any money in anticipation of his purchasing the property, and further failed to establish that her brother's estate was unjustly enriched. The Court also sustained objections made by Bugaj/Fischer to the sister's testimony regarding verbal agreements she alleged she entered into with her brother, which objections were based on Pennsylvania's Dead Man's Rule (which prevents adverse parties from testifying to anything that occurred during a decedent's lifetime).

The second case was brought by an ex-boyfriend who alleged that his ex-girlfriend owed him money for his paying off the mortgage on a parcel of real property they purchased together. The couple purchased the property in 2007. They financed the purchase with a mortgage in the amount of $416,000.00. Just three months after their purchase, the ex-boyfriend paid off the mortgage in full. Two years later, the ex-boyfriend transferred his interest in the property to his ex-girlfriend. He alleged that he did so at his ex-girlfriend's request, so that she could obtain financing to purchase another property in North Carolina, and that she promised to repay him when she was able.

Bugaj/Fischer represented the ex-girlfriend, who vehemently denied entering into any kind of agreement with her ex-boyfriend regarding paying him back for satisfying the mortgage or transferring his interest in the property to her. She maintained that she did not want him to satisfy the mortgage so that they could use it as a tax write-off and specifically told him if he were to do so she would not give him any money towards the payoff. She also alleged that her ex-boyfriend transferred his interest in the property to her to assuage her concerns about liability due to his drinking and driving.

The ex-boyfriend sued his ex-girlfriend for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and a constructive trust. After the ex-boyfriend presented his case at trial, Bugaj/Fischer moved for a non-suit, on the grounds that the ex-boyfriend failed to prove the required elements for these causes of action. The Court agreed and granted a compulsory non-suit.

Both cases were tried by Ronald M. Bugaj, Esq.