Marvin V. Marvin 1976 Case Brief

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MARVIN V. MARVIN

Citation. 18 Cal. 3d 660,557 P.2d 106,134 Cal. Rptr. 815,1976 Cal. Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff and defendant lived in a nonmarital relationship, with an oral agreement to share equally all property accumulated. Upon dissolution of their relationship, plaintiff brought suit to enforce the oral agreement.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The California court found that partners in nonmarital relationships may bring claims for property division based on both express and implied contracts.

Facts. Plaintiff and defendant lived together for seven years without marrying, with all property acquired during this time taken in defendant’s name. Plaintiff avers that she and defendant entered into an oral agreement where the parties would combine their efforts and earnings and share equally all property accumulated as a result of their efforts. Plaintiff agreed to give up a lucrative career as a singer and entertainer and assume the role of homemaker, with defendant agreeing to provide for all of plaintiff’s financial support. Defendant compelled plaintiff to leave his household in May of 1970, and continued to provide support to her until November of 1971. Thereafter, he refused to provide further support. Plaintiff brought suit to enforce the oral agreement, claiming that she was entitled to half the property and to support payments. The trial court granted judgment on the pleadings for the defendant.

Issue. Did the trial court err in granting defendant judgment on the pleadings?

Held. The trial court erred in granting defendant judgment on the pleadings because the plaintiff’s complaint states a cause of action for breach of an express contract, and can be amended to state a cause of action independent of allegations of express contract. Defendant first and foremost claims that the alleged contract should not be enforced because it violates public policy due to its close relationship to the immoral character of the relationship between plaintiff...
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