Brackenbury v. Hodgkin

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, 1917.

116 Me. 399, 102 A. 106.

Dawson, pp. 385-387


Facts: Hodgkin wrote a letter to her daughter and son-in-law saying that if they would come and take care of her, that they would inherit her property.  They came and started performing, but Hodgkin and the Brackenburys started fighting.  She wrote a deed to give her property to her son Walter, who told the Brackenburys they had to get out.  The Brackenburys sued in equity to force the son to give the property back to his mother and keep Walter from kicking them out of the property.  The trial court found for the plaintiffs.  The defendant appeals.


Issue: Was there a valid contract?  Did the plaintiffs have an equitable interest in the property?  Did the plaintiffs breach their duty under the contract?


Rule: To accept an offer of a unilateral contract, only performance is necessary.  A trust concerning land must be created by a signed writing.


Analysis: The court finds that there was a valid contract.  They found that Hodgkin made an offer for a unilateral contract which was accepted by the plaintiffs by coming to take care of her.


The court finds that this contract created an equitable interest in the land on the part of the plaintiffs.


The court finds that the trial judge did not err in finding that the plaintiffs did not breach the contract and that Hodgkin was primarily responsible for things going sour.


Conclusion: The appeal is dismissed.


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