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Appeal Court Decision 1

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Appeal Court Decision

Appellant caretaker sought review of a judgment of the Superior Court of Kern County (California), which sustained the demurrers filed by respondent, executor of the decedent's will, and dismissed the caretaker's second and third complaint, in her action against the executor under the will for enforcement of an oral contract between the caretaker and the decedent.


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When the decedent's will left his property to persons other than the caretaker, the caretaker filed suit for quasi-specific performance of an alleged oral contract between the decedent and herself, by which the decedent agreed to devise his property to the caretaker as compensation for personal services rendered. The caretaker also sought the reasonable value of her services allegedly rendered by her to the decedent during his lifetime. The court found that the caretaker had not pleaded sufficient facts to allege an unconscionable injury or unjust enrichment. The caretaker's allegations that she gave up her social life and put aside her personal pleasures to assist the decedent on reliance on the oral contract to make a will was not sufficient. As such, the cause of action for quasi-specific performance did not allege facts sufficient to lift it outside the statute of frauds. With regard to her quantum meruit cause of action, the court found that the action was not barred by the two-year statute of limitations, as it commenced to run upon decedent's death and was filed within the two-year period. The allegations on that claim were sufficient as against the general demurrer.



The court affirmed the portion of the judgment dismissing the cause of action for a quasi-specific performance against the executor, and reversed the portion of the judgment dismissing the cause of action for a reasonable value of services rendered.


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