I. BACKGROUNDThe outcome of this appeal is largely a product of our previous decision in this case. Thus, of necessity, we retrace our steps. In Harvey I, we set forth the relevant factual and procedural history, as it existed to that point, as follows:
Jeffrey Dow Sr. and Kathryn Dow are the parents of Teresa Harvey. The Dows own 125 acres of land in Corinth in two adjoining parcels, one fifty acres and the other seventy-five acres. They, their daughter Teresa, and their son Jeffrey Dow Jr. each have homes on the property. From the time they were young, Teresa and her brother talked about the houses they would eventually like to build on the homestead; Teresa said she wanted her home to be located near a spring, close to where it now sits. For their part, the Dows saw the land as their children’s heritage that would be left to them or given to them when they were older. Jeffrey Sr. testified that when the children were teenagers, he believed that his wife had promised them some land in the future, and the subject of the children living on the homestead was commonly discussed within the family.
The Superior Court found that the Dows had a general, non-specific plan to transfer land to the children at some undetermined time. In the court’s words, the “evidence at most reveals that Jeffrey Sr. expressed an intention to enter into an agreement to convey property sometime in the future,” and “Kathryn had made it clear that eventually, both Teresa and Jeffrey Jr. would end up with all or part of the two parcels.”
In 1999, Teresa and her future husband, Jarrod Harvey, installed a mobile home on her parents’ land with their permission at the location where her brother’s mobile home is now located. She did not pay rent and did not ask her parents for a deed. Later, she and Jarrod built a garage near the mobile home, again with the Dows’ permission.
Around January 2003, Teresa and Jarrod, by then married, decided to build a house on the lot where their mobile home then stood. At the Harveys’ request, the Dows agreed to use their home equity line of credit to initially finance the house. At trial, Teresa testified that part of the plan for repaying her parents included having them convey the building site to her by deed once the house was completed. Jeffrey Sr. denied any discussion of a deed at that time. In March 2003, Jarrod Harvey died in a motorcycle accident. Following his death, Teresa decided to finance the house with life insurance proceeds rather than use her parents’ home equity line.
Judge(s): Joseph M. Jabar
Jurisdiction: Maine Supreme Court
|Supreme Court Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Paul Weeks||Paul Weeks Attorney PA|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Edmond Bearor||Rudman & Winchell LLC|
|John Hamer||Rudman & Winchell LLC|