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02/09/76 DUNLAP ESTATE CITY BANK & TRUST COMPANY v.

February 9, 1976

IN RE DUNLAP ESTATE; CITY BANK & TRUST COMPANY
v.
LEIGHTNER



Appeal from Jackson, Charles J. Falahee, J.

N. J. Kaufman, P. J., and T. M. Burns and M. F. Cavanagh, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Appeal and Error -- Directed Verdict -- Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict.

The Court of Appeals is called upon to review the facts that were brought out at the trial and all legitimate inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and to determine whether reasonable men could differ in deciding the ultimate issue where there is an appeal claiming reversible error by the trial court in refusing to enter a directed verdict or a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in an appellant's favor.

2. Evidence -- Right of Access -- Safe Deposit Boxes -- Change of Ownership -- Decedent's Intent.

A joint right of access to a safe deposit box does not alone effect a change in ownership of the contents of the box; however, it is one factor which may properly be considered in arriving at a decedent's intent regarding another's interest in such contents.

3. Evidence -- Safe Deposit Boxes -- Co-Lessees -- Terms of Lease -- Decedent's Intent.

Allowing the jury to consider the safe deposit box lease terms in making a determination whether the co-lessee was entitled to ownership of the box's contents was not reversible error, because while the terms may not constitute clear and convincing proof of a decedent's intent, they are probative of such to some extent.

4. Appeal and Error -- Submission to Jury -- Evidence -- Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict -- Inferences -- Reasonable Minds -- Most Favorable Light.

A question is properly submitted to the jury for resolution where there is evidence supporting each party's argument and the Court of Appeals should not reverse the jury's verdict where it determined that reasonable minds could differ after consideration of the evidence and the inferences arising therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party when there was a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burns

Complaint by City Bank & Trust Company as executor of the estate of Esther Ruth Dunlap, deceased, against Stewart E. Leightner seeking the return of the contents of a safe deposit box leased in the names of the decedent and the defendant. Judgment for defendant. Plaintiff appeals.

By this action, plaintiff, as executor of the estate of Esther Dunlap, sought to recover the contents of a safe deposit box, which contents were given to defendant after Mrs. Dunlap's death.

After evidence was presented, both parties moved for a directed verdict. The motions being denied, the case went to the jury, which found for defendant. The trial court denied plaintiff's motions for judgment notwithstanding the ...


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