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Brown v. Wardwell

Superior Court of Maine, Aroostook

October 5, 2016

ERIC D. BROWN, SR PLAINTIFF
v.
DEBORAH WARDWELL DEFENDANT

          ORDER AND DECISION

         On December 21, 2012 Eric D. Brown, Sr., Plaintiff herein (hereafter referred to as Eric) filed a complaint against the Defendant, Deborah Wardwell (hereafter referred to as Deborah) asserting the following claims:

Count I-Action to Quiet Title
Count II-Declaratory Judgment Action
Count III-Improvident Transfer of Title
Count IV-Conversion
Count V-Waste
Count VI-Reformation of Deed

         Trial on the matter was held July 13, 2016. Testimony was received from Eric, Deborah, Attorney Daniel Nelson and Anthony Bowers, and in addition deposition testimony of Jonathan Borkum, PhD. (Exhibit 5)

         FINDINGS OF FACT[1]

         Eric is a 73 year old man with a complicated medical history related to a serious work related back injury. Over the course of several years he had multiple back surgeries, but remains to date in chronic pain, requiring medication. Eric was previously married and had five children, but the marriage ended in divorce in 2000. His children were not active participants in his life or health care in the years immediately prior to and including the time of events which are the subject of this case. Through those years he resided in Hammond Plantation, Maine.

         In 2007, Eric was introduced to Deborah. They became friends and eventually began dating. Deborah would spend some evenings at Eric's home and they would sleep together. They developed a loving and caring relationship.

         About six to eight months after they started dating, Eric proposed to Deborah and gave her an engagement ring which she accepted. Deborah then moved in with Eric at his Hammond Plantation home.

         In 2008, Eric's grandson came to live with them. The grandson's presence resulted in added tension and created distance between Eric and Deborah. Eric suggested to Deborah she move out of his home, which she did, She also returned the engagement ring. After moving out Eric and Deborah remained friendly, but with the passage of time over the next year they had little contact.

         At Christmas in 2009, Deborah sent Eric a card. This led Eric and Deborah to resume contact with one another in early 2010 and soon their relationship re-kindled. Deborah again began spending overnights at Eric's.

         Through this time, Eric's relationship with his grandson soured and the grandson left the area. Up until the time he left, the grandson had also served as Eric's "caretaker", for which services he was paid by Eric's workers compensation insurer, One Beacon.

         Upon departure of the grandson, Deborah began staying more frequently and eventually moved back into Eric's home. At Eric's suggestion she also assumed the role as "caretaker" and, as had the grandson, was paid for those services by One Beacon. When Deborah became the caretaker, Eric advised Deborah to set aside a portion of her payments for income taxes, which she did.

         Upon moving back into Eric's home, Eric also returned to Deborah the engagement ring he ...


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