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Greaves v. Fogel

Decided: June 26, 1950.

JAMES N. GREAVES AND RUTH M. GREAVES, HIS WIFE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GEORGE FOGEL, DEFENDANT



Haneman, J.s.c.

Haneman

This is a suit seeking the specific performance of an agreement to purchase real estate. On or about May 28, 1948, the plaintiffs entered into an agreement to sell a certain parcel of real estate situate in the City of Linwood, Atlantic County, New Jersey, to the defendant. On June 14, 1948, in accordance with the terms of said agreement, the parties met at the appointed time and place for final settlement or closing. At that time the defendant refused to pay the purchase price for the reason that the plaintiffs did not have legal title to said real estate under the laws of the State of New Jersey.

The parties hereto have stipulated all of the facts. The pertinent facts in connection herewith are as follows:

One James Greaves, of Prospect Park, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, died, a widower and intestate, on November 26, 1947, seized of the title to the real estate described in said written agreement of sale. Plaintiff, James N. Greaves, but known then as James Nellius Marshall, was born in the Borough of Marcus Hook, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, November 22, 1906. While plaintiff, James N. Greaves, was a young baby he was taken by the aforesaid James Greaves and his wife. From infancy the said decedent, James Greaves, and his wife cared for and raised plaintiff, James N. Greaves, as their own child. On March 25, 1919, the wife of James Greaves died. On or about December 15, 1920, decedent, said James Greaves, then a widower, petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, a court of competent jurisdiction, for permission to adopt as his own child plaintiff James N. Greaves. In response to said petition, and after a hearing on same, said Common Pleas Court of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, entered a decree on December 21, 1920, which decreed that:

1. Said minor, James Nellius Marshall, shall thereafter be the adopted son of said adoptive father, James Greaves.

2. The name of said James Nellius Marshall shall thereafter be James Nellius Greaves.

3. Said James Nellius Greaves shall thereafter have all of the rights of a child and heir of said James Greaves and be subject to the duties of such child.

Plaintiff, James N. Greaves, is the same person named and described in the foregoing as James Nellius Marshall and James Nellius Greaves, and by virtue of said decree became the adopted son of decedent, James Greaves. Decedent, James Greaves, never had any child born to him in his lifetime and never adopted any other child than plaintiff, James N. Greaves. Plaintiff, James N. Greaves, because of said adoption, is the only child and heir of decedent, James Greaves, under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, and by virtue thereof claims to be the owner of the real estate in question. Immediately following the death of decedent, James Greaves, plaintiff, James N. Greaves, took possession of the real estate described in the agreement and still holds possession of same.

The laws for adoption of children in the State of Pennsylvania in their essential requirements are similar to those of the State of New Jersey.

The State of Pennsylvania does not have separate statutes dealing with the distribution of personal property and the devolution of real estate. They have one statute dealing with intestacy. Section 16 of this Act, P.L. 1917, p. 429, 20 P.S. , ยง 101, among other things, provides as follows:

"Any minor or adult person adopted according to law, and the adopting parent or parents shall, respectively, inherit and take, by devolution from and through each other, personal estate as next of kin, and real estate as heirs, under the provisions of this act, as fully as if the person adopted had been born a lawful child of the adopting parent or parents."

This same Pennsylvania statute dealing with intestacy law also provides that when a person dies intestate, leaving no widow but one child, all the real and personal ...


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