Can Norma sue Martha for fraudulent misrepresentation? Why or why not?

The first 4 questions are based on the following scenario:  

Ninety-year-old Elvie lives alone on the 

south  side  of  Boston  in  a  home  built  in  1925.  Elvie  suffers  a  stroke  that  leaves  her  with  significant 

physical limitations and difficulty communicating.  Elvie’s next door neighbor, Martha, is a retired nurse 

and also lives alone.  Elvie’s children hire Martha as Elvie’s caretaker and ask her to move into Elvie’s 

house to give her the 24-hour-a-day care she needs. Martha sells her home and moves in with Elvie. Over 

the next year, Elvie’s health deteriorates.  Just before Elvie dies, Martha talks her into selling her house 

to Martha for much less than its apparent market value.  Elvie signs the papers and passes away a few 

days later.  Anticipating that Elvie’s children will be upset about the sale of the house, Martha offers to 

sell  it  to  her  friend  Norma  at  a  great  price  (and  a  big  profit  for  Martha)  if  Norma  will  forego  a  home 

inspection and close the deal quickly. When Norma hesitates, Martha tells her, “Hey, I have lived in the 

house for a year and never noticed any problems.” Norma buys the house without having it inspected 

first.  Four months later, the basement starts to leak and Norma hires a contractor to look into the problem. 

The contractor discovers numerous cracks in the walls and floor of the basement that had been repaired 

and  then  covered  with  wood  paneling  and  flooring.  The  contractor  tells  Norma  that  the  house  is 

structurally unsound and not safe to live in.  

1.   How might Elvie’s children challenge Martha’s ownership of the  house (can they challenge 

the validity of the K or do they have a defense to the K’s enforceability)?  Name two ways.  

Explain.

2.   Suppose Elvie does not sell the house to Martha, but gives it to her in appreciation for the 

year  of  constant  care  and  companionship.  Under  these  circumstances,  what  additional 

argument(s) would Elvie’s children have to challenge Martha’s ownership of the house?  

3.   Can Norma sue Martha for fraudulent misrepresentation? Why or why not?    

4.   Assuming there is no fraud, can Norma get out of the sales contract with Martha based on 

mistake  as  to  the  condition  of  the  house?    Why  or  why  not?    What  is  the  remedy  for  a 

mistake?

5.   Name two types of damages in contract cases and give an example of when each is a proper 

contract remedy

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