Posts tagged "Sheppard"

Bonina v. Sheppard (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-070-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   16-P-771                                        Appeals Court   STEPHEN BONINA  vs.  JANE A. SHEPPARD.     No. 16-P-771.   Worcester.     March 2, 2017. – June 1, 2017.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Massing, & Desmond, JJ.     Cohabitation, Nonmarital.  Restitution.  Damages, Restitution.  Unjust Enrichment.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on July 22, 2011.   The case was heard by Gregg J. Pasquale, J.     Barry A. Bachrach for the defendant. Scott G. Gowen for the plaintiff.     KAFKER, C.J.  The issue presented in this case is whether a substantial, uncompensated contribution by one unmarried cohabitant to improve the home owned by the other is recoverable in restitution.  The plaintiff, Stephen Bonina, and the defendant, Jane A. Sheppard, were involved in a long-term nonmarital relationship.  The plaintiff, a contractor, expended significant funds and labor to improve the home in which the couple lived for sixteen years, which was owned by the defendant.  When the relationship ended, the plaintiff brought this action against the defendant claiming, inter alia, that she had been unjustly enriched by his contributions to the home.  After a bench trial, a Superior Court judge awarded the plaintiff $ 156,913.07 in restitution, which represented the funds he expended to improve the home over sixteen years.  The defendant appeals, claiming that the trial judge erred by (1) finding that she was unjustly enriched; and (2) calculating the plaintiff’s restitution based on his costs to improve the home, rather than the increased value of the home with the improvements.  We affirm. Background.  We summarize the facts found by the trial judge, supplemented by uncontroverted facts in the record.  Weber v. Community Teamwork, Inc., 434 Mass. 761, 769 (2001).  The plaintiff and the defendant met on New Year’s Eve, 1989, and began dating shortly thereafter.  Three years later, the parties became interested in purchasing a home in Bolton that had been vacant for two years.  The home was owned by Concord Co-Operative Bank (bank).  During negotiations with the bank, the parties coauthored a letter declaring their serious interest in the home, and explaining that the cost to bring the home to livable condition was $ 43,500, based on estimations by the plaintiff and another contractor.  In May, 1993, the defendant purchased the home for $ 131,500 in her name only, becoming the sole obligor on the mortgage. As it turned […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 1, 2017 at 8:54 pm

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