Jury finds granddaughter withheld home sale proceeds, awards grandma $37K

David Yates Mar. 9, 2011, 6:20am

A Jefferson County jury found in favor of a Groves grandmother on Tuesday, awarding her more than $37,000 in home sale proceeds that had been withheld by her granddaughter.

Last January, Lenora Fawcett filed suit against her granddaughter, Kimberly Young, claiming Young sold her home without consent and gave her only $6,000 from the $148,000 transaction.

The trial began March 7 and ended the following day, with jurors finding that Young failed to comply with her fiduciary duty to Fawcett.

The jury awarded Fawcett $37,162 in damages, according to the charge of the jury.

In her suit, Fawcett says she built a house on property belonging to her daughter and son-in-law, Deborah and Donald Avery, in 1999.

Court records show Fawcett paid for the house with cash proceeds from a stock sale and moved into the new home on Memorial Day 2000. A year later, Donald Avery died and left his entire estate to his wife.

Deborah Avery then deeded the property to Fawcett's granddaughter, Kimberly Young, and her husband, Stephen Young.

Fawcett continued to live in the home with no problems until April 2009 when she fell and became hospitalized, court papers say.

"While recovering, her belongings were removed from her house without her knowledge or consent and placed in a storage POD," the suit states.

"The real property, along with Plaintiff's house, was sold by Stephen and Kimberly Young. The deed was filed May 13, 2009, and conveyed the property for cash and a note of $148,453."

The Youngs moved to Brock, Texas, and mailed a $6,000 check to Fawcett accompanied by a letter, in which Kimberly Young apologized for not sending the amount intended and explained she did not sell the house for what she expected, the complaint says.

"When Defendants sold the property, they sold Plaintiff's house as part of the sale and kept all of the proceeds, except for $6,000," the suit states.

"Plaintiff asserts that the value of her house far exceeds that amount. Plaintiff asks the court to impose a constructive trust on that portion of the proceeds of the sale of the property by Stephen Young and Kimberly Young which represents Plaintiff's personal property."

Bruce Gregory of Gregory Law Firm in Port Neches represents Fawcett.

Houston attorney Robert Price represents the Youngs.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, presided over the trial.

Case No. A185-703

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