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Albert v. Albert

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

January 22, 2015

CARLTON M. ALBERT JR.
v.
DANIEL B. ALBERT

Submitted on Briefs: October 27, 2014.

Page 389

Judgment affirmed.

On the briefs: Toby D. Jandreau, Esq., Fort Kent, for appellant Carlton M. Albert Jr.

Daniel B. Albert, appellee, Pro se.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.[*]

OPINION

Page 390

HJELM, J.

[¶1] Carlton M. Albert Jr. appeals from a judgment entered in the Superior Court (Aroostook County, Hunter, J.) in favor of his brother Daniel B. Albert, following a non-jury trial. Carlton contends that the trial court erred in finding that, when Carlton conveyed a parcel of land to Daniel in 1992, Daniel did not have a confidential relationship with him and that Daniel did not unduly influence him to convey the land. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] We view the record in the light most favorable to Daniel, the prevailing party. See Lyman v. Huber, 2010 ME 139, ¶ 2, 10 A.3d 707.

[¶3] When Daniel and Carlton's father died in 1976, his company, Madawaska Brick & Block, was left in trust for the benefit of them, their three other brothers and their stepmother. The company owned the land at issue. Daniel bought the land from the company in 1984, and later that year conveyed it to Carlton in exchange for Carlton's shares in the company.

[¶4] In 1991, Carlton was involved in an altercation and sustained various injuries, including brain trauma. Because of his injuries, he was unable to continue working as a fisherman. In order to protect the land from creditors' claims, Carlton asked Daniel to purchase it from him, and Daniel eventually agreed. Carlton secured the services of an attorney, whom he knew, to represent him in the land conveyance. Carlton's attorney drafted the deed in August 1991, and Carlton executed it in January 1992. Carlton's attorney also prepared the transfer documents that indicated a land value of $15,000. In exchange for receiving title to the land, Daniel released Carlton from indebtedness on a loan that Daniel had extended to Carlton in 1978 and on which Carlton had made no payments. The balance on the loan, with interest, was in excess of $16,000.

[¶5] Within several years after the 1992 conveyance, Carlton wanted to buy the property back from Daniel, but they could not agree on a price. Daniel may have offered to make annual payments of $1,000 to Carlton, and they may have discussed the possibility that Daniel would build a residence on the land that would include an apartment for Carlton's use. These discussions, however, were not part of the 1992 ...


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