Thursday, December 18, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 151

Summary of Decision issued December 18, 2008

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: In re Estate of Jedrzejewski

Citation: 2008 WY 151

Docket Number: S-07-0268

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Nicholas G. Kalokathis, Judge.

Representing Appellant Jedrzejewski: Susan L. Feinman and Laura J. Jackson of Long Reimer Winegar LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee Bierma: Alexander K. Davison of Patton & Davison, Cheyenne, Wyoming; William D. Bagley of Bagley, Karpan, Rose & White LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Facts/Discussion: Jedrzejewski through her estate is appealing the district court’s decision upholding a deed of her residence in favor of Bierma. Jedrzejewski alleges Bierma obtained her signature on the deed by wrongful act. She also claims the deed was unenforceable due to lack of consideration and lack of proper notarization.

Sufficiency of the Evidence: The factual finding by the district court that the conveyance was not induced by fraud or undue influence is presumptively correct. The parties offered almost diametrically opposed testimony. The factual findings came down to a determination of credibility. The district court was in the best position to make that determination. Given the trial testimony and other evidence, the Court had no reason to question the district court’s implicit credibility determination and subsequent evidentiary ruling.
Lack of Proper Acknowledgment: In construing Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 34-1-113 which requires the execution of all deeds be acknowledged by an authorized notary, the Court has consistently held an improperly executed interest in real property is not void ab initio. The lack of proper acknowledgment prevents the instrument from being recorded, but the instrument is valid as between the parties to the instrument. The lack of proper acknowledgment is no bar to the enforcement of the deed as between the parties in the instant case.
Lack of Consideration: The rule is that a deed is good without consideration in the absence of some wrongful act on the part of the grantee. The Court stated the deed was good between the parties despite the lack of consideration.

Holding: The Court found no error in the district court’s decision. Under the facts and circumstances of the instant case, the Court found the factual decision by the district court that Bierma did not engage in any wrongdoing in the initiation and execution of the deed is not clearly erroneous. Since there was no wrongdoing, the deed is valid between Jedrzejewski and Bierma despite the lack of proper acknowledgment and the lack of consideration.


J. Golden delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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