Summary Judgment Improper in Contract Case where Undue Influence and Lack of Consideration Alleged


Bruce and Kathryn Barbee, an elderly North Carolina couple, owned a $450,000 vacation home.  Since Bruce was legally blind, he relied on his wife to sign documents for him. After Kathryn went into a nursing home, their long time friends (the defendants) came to visit bearing a contract to rent the vacation property for $300 a month, with an option to purchase it for $150,000. The defendants had a notary public come with them.  During the meeting, Kathryn signed the contract. When Kathryn died, Bruce sued to set aside the agreement based on his ignorance of the content of the agreement and the fact that he did not authorize Kathryn to execute the agreement for him. The Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court. On appeal, the Court of Appeals set aside the summary judgment, ruling that where issues of undue influence and adequacy of consideration were raised, summary judgment was improper.

Barbee v. Johnson et al., No. COA07-510, 1008 N.C. App. LEXIS 887 (May 6, 2008)
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