Wilson v. Clancy

District Court for the District of Maryland

747 F. Supp. 1154 (D. Md. 1990)

October 17, 1990

Silence, at least where there is no showing of intentional silence on a particular occasion intended as an assertion when silence is kept, is not hearsay. However, evidence of such silence may still be excluded if its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect.

Relevant Facts

Wilson (the plaintiff), is a testamentary beneficiary of Dr. Hurney (the testator). In his will, Dr. Hurney left Wilson half of his residual estate. However, most of the testator’s property was in a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship to his wife. This meant that when the testator died, half of most of his property went to his wife with the remainder half going to Wilson. Wilson sued Clancy (the defendant), an attorney who drafted the testator’s will, alleging that he was negligent in drafting the will. In opposition to Clancy’s motion for summary judgment, Wilson brought a witness, Ms. Bouman, who was Dr. Hurney’s bookkeeper. Ms. Bouman testified that Dr. Hurney never mentioned to her that he would have to change his assets from a joint tenancy for Wilson to inherit half of the assets. The plaintiff asserted that because Dr. Hurney was silent on the issue, Dr. Hurney was never given such advice by Clancy.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

November 18, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

747 F. Supp. 1154 (D. Md. 1990)