Puckett v. Krida

The Facts

  • Krida and Reeves (Ds) were hired to provide 24 hr care for Nancy Hooper (T) after returning home from hospital due to Alzheimer’s
  • T’s condition improved under their care
  • Ds persuaded T that T’s relatives were wasting her money and wanted to put T in a nursing home, neither of which were true.
  • T executed a deed and a will that favored Ds

Procedural History

  • TC set aside deed and will
  • Ds appealed

The Issue

Whether Ds committed fraud and undue influence to become beneficiaries under T’s will

The Rule

  • Since frauds are generally secret, they have to be tracked by footprints, marks and signs made by the perpetrators and discovered in the light of the attending facts and circumstances.

The Holding/Disposition

  • Yes, affirmed

Court’s Reasoning

  • Ds status as nurses constituted a fiduciary/confidential relationship w/ T and Kirda got further fiduciary obligations under POA she obtained
  • Ds made false statements to T and concealed facts from her.
  • Ds eavesdropped on telephone conversations and abused their influence on T
  • Ds offered no proof to refute these statements and TC found that Jean Law (T’s niece) kept meticulous records
  • Ds systematically separated T from her family

Ds isolated T and controlled access to her

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