Billie gave Bud money to buy a tractor. Undisputed.
(I’m not making up the names.)
Bud dies ten years later and Billie comes to Bud’s estate to claim the tractor as collateral for the loan that he says was never repaid
Bottom line of this case is that, the reason the Court can’t determine the validity of Billie’s claim is because Billie waited until Bud died to do something about it. In other words, the Court will never know whether Bud would agree that it was a loan, and if so, whether it was unpaid? Accordingly, Billie loses because of laches.
The unpublished case of Billie Montgomery v Estate of Bud Montgomery (click on the name to read the case) provides a good discussion of the affirmative defense of laches, and in doing so, reminds of that “familiar principle” that “one who waits until the death of a witness has prevented denial of his claim or disclosure of the truth is guilty of laches . . . .”
I admit to being unfamiliar. But I like it.
Variation on a Good Line
Brings me to mind of a line I heard in a movie once that I thought was awesome which goes: “Thems that know ain’t talkin’ and thems that are talkin’ don’t know.” I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use that line for a long time. And, while this case isn’t an exact fit, at my age I realize I may not get many more chances. So, for probate litigation purposes I proffer: “When the reason that thems that know ain’t talkin’ is because they’re dead, and the credibility of thems that are talkin’ is suspect because they a have a self-interest in the outcome, it’s probably good to consider laches as an affirmative defense.”