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tinue to hold their respective positions, and to be entitled to such compensation as is now provided or may hereafter be provided by the various school boards, subject to the limitations of this act, and to reassignment or to removal for cause as may be provided by law."
After consolidation had been effected plaintiff continued to teach, as she had done before, a class which was exclusively a girls' graduating class, and the highest class in the school until June 1, 1898. After that date her class was composed in part of girls about to graduate, known as pupils of the eighth grade, and in part of pupils of a lower, or seventh grade. This change in the composition of the class appears to have been the result of some rearrangement of classes, the nature of which is not explained. It does not appear that plaintiff was ever disciplined or “reassigned" within the meaning of that word as used in section 1117, and it is clear that down to the date of her retirement the class she taught was, in part at least, a girls' graduating class. In 1900 the Legislature enacted the so-called "Davis Act” (chapter 751, p. 1605, Laws 1900), which went into effect on May 3, 1900. That act dealt in great detail with the subject of the salaries of teachers and other employés of the board of education, and by its fourth section (amending section 1091 of the charter of 1897) provided as follows:
“The board of education shall have power to adopt by-laws fixing the salaries of the borough and associate superintendents and all members of the supervising and the teaching staff
and no female teacher of a girls' graduating class
shall after ten years of service in said schools receive less than $1,440 per annum."
Pursuant to this act the board of education adopted a by-law which provided that:
“Female teachers in the elementary schools appointed to classes in the 8th b. grade shall receive salaries in accordance with the following schedule, viz. :
Ten years $1,440.” It appears to be agreed that "girls' graduating classes” are included within the phrase "classes in the 8th b. grade. At the time the socalled “Davis Act” went into effect plaintiff was receiving a salary of $1,320 per annum, and it is conceded that she continued to be paid, and to have accepted, salary at that rate down to the time of her retirement on February 1, 1901, and to have been paid and accepted a pension at the rate of half that sum, or $660 per annum, since the date of her retirement. She now claims that she was entitled to receive from the date of the passage of the Davis act to the date of her retirement salary at the rate of $1,440 per annum, and a pension since she retired at the rate of half that salary, or $720 per annum. Her judgment is for the difference between what she has received and what she now claims that she was entitled to receive. It is clear beyond contradiction that at the time the Greater New York Charter went into effect the plaintiff held a position in the educational system in the county of Richmond as teacher of a girls' graduating class, being the highest grade of class in the elementary schools of that county. Such is the fact, and it is entirely unimportant that the place she held was not designated in terms as a "position” in any act or by-law. Consolidation found her so occupied and holding such a position or place.
and 140 New York State Reporter Section 1117 of the charter then became operative. The object and effect of that section has been declared by the highest authority. It operated to permanently protect teachers, as well those employed before the passage of the act, as those appointed afterwards, in the tenure of their positions unless removed or reassigned for cause and in the manner provided by law. People ex rel. Callahan v. Board of Education, 174 N. Y. 169-174, 66 N. E. 674; Bogert v. Board of Education, 106 App. Div. 56, 94 N. Y. Supp. 180. The effect of that section, therefore, so far as concerned this plaintiff was to permanently secure her tenure of the position in which the charter found her, towit, that of a teacher of a girls' graduating class. Except for cause, the defendant had no power after January 1, 1898, to reduce her to a lower position, and we do not consider that they should be held to have done so, or to have attempted to do so merely because her class was so reconstituted that, in addition to teaching girls about to graduate, she was called upon to teach others not so far advanced. By fair intendment, therefore, as well as by operation of law, she continued to be a teacher of a girls' graduating class, and was such on May 3, 1900, when chapter 751, p. 1605, Laws 1900, went into effect, and by the terms of that act she at once became entitled to receive the salary which she now claims. Since she had never been removed or reduced in rank, she is under no necessity to proceed by mandamus for reinstatement.
The defendant insists that, by accepting and receipting for salary and pension at the lower rate, the plaintiff has waived the right to compensation at the higher rate. If her right to compensation rested upon contract, there would be force in this contention; but it does not. Her right to receive both the salary and the pension which she now claims was definitely fixed by statute, and, when the compensation of a public employé is fixed by statute, it cannot be reduced by the superior officer under whom he or she is employed, and the fact that the employé for a time accepts the reduced compensation does not estop him or her from subsequently claiming the residue. Kehn v. State, 93 N. Y. 291; McCunney v. City of New York, 40 App. Div. 482, 58 N. Y. Supp. 138; Clark v. State, 142 N. Y. 101, 36 N. E. 817.
The determination of the Appellate Term must be affirmed with costs. All concur, except INGRAHAM, J., who dissents.
GROTE V. GROTE. (Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. November 22, 1907.) 1. TRUSTS-FAILURE TO PERFORM CONSIDERATION OF DEED-EQUITABLE RELIEF.
Where the sole consideration of a deed of a house and lot was the grantee's agreement to give the grantor board and lodging in such house as long as he required it, a degree of confidence was reposed in the grantee which imparted to the grantee and property conveyed a trust relation for the benefit of the grantor to the extent of the agreed support, which entitled the grantor, upon the grantee's selling the property and refusal to
perform the agreement in another house, to equitable relief. 2. SAME-FOLLOWING TRUST PROPERTY.
Where the grantee of a house and lot agreed to give the grantor board and lodging in such house as long as he required it, the sale of such prop
erty did not prevent the grantor from obtaining equitable relief on refusal of the grantee to substantially perform it in another house, where the proceeds of the sale could be traced and identified.
[Ed. Note.—For cases in point, see Cent. Dig. vol. 47, Trusts, $8 527,
528.] 3. SAME-ACCOUNTING BY TRUSTEE-REMEDY.
The right of a grantor, making a conveyance in consideration of an agreement of the grantee that she would give the grantor board and lodg. ing as long as required by the grantor, to an accounting of the income of the property or the proceeds thereof on refusal of the grantee to perform her agreement, is a right enforceable only in equity.
[Ed. Note. For cases in point, see Cent. Dig. vol. 47, Trusts, $ 416.] 4. SAME-TRUSTEE EX MALEFICIO.
Where the facts showed that a grantee in a conveyance of a house and lot, who agreed to board and lodge the grantor in the house as long as he might require it, made the agreement solely to induce the conveyance and without any intention of performing the same, a strong case is made out for charging her as a trustee ex maleficio, at least from the time of an unauthorized sale by her of the property.
[Ed. Note.—For cases in point, see Cent. Dig. vol. 47, Trusts, $8 144-147.]
Ingraham, J., dissenting. Appeal from Special Term.
Action by Augustus H. Grote against Ida F. Grote for certain equitable relief for failure of defendant to perform agreement constituting a consideration for conveyance of real property. From an interlocutory judgment overruling a demurrer to the complaint, defendant appeals. Affirmed.
Argued before PATTERSON, P. J., and INGRAHAM, McLAUGHLIN, HOUGHTON, and SCOTT, JJ.
William C. Rosenberg, for appellant.
SCOTT, J. The defendant appeals from an interlocutory judgment overruling her demurrer to the complaint for general insufficiency. The complaint alleges: That the defendant is related to plaintiff by affinity, being the widow of a deceased brother. That on or prior to February 1, 1888, the plaintiff was the owner of and was seised and possessed of certain real estate, with a dwelling house thereon, in the borough of the Bronx in the city of New York. That on or about February 1, 1888, the plaintiff by a deed of gift conveyed to defendant herein the said real estate. That there was no consideration whatever moving from said defendant to plaintiff, except an agreement made and entered into between them, which agreement was in the nature and form of a condition imposed upon and attached to said deed of gift as follows: That the plaintiff was to have a room and a home for his natural life in the said dwelling house on the said premises at any time upon his request or demand therefor, and without any charge, cost, or expense whatsoever to him therefor, and that the plaintiff was to have for his natural life board with the said defendant and her family in the said dwelling house at any time upon his request or demand, without any charge, cost or expense whatever to him, to all of which defendant assented and agreed at the time of the making and delivery of said deed, and that upon the
and 140 New York State Reporter conditions and agreement so made the plaintiff made and executed the said deed. That on or about February 1, 1893, the plaintiff delivered said deed to defendant, who thereupon and on February 13, 1895, caused the same to be recorded in the register's office. That on or about May 8, 1899, the defendant, without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiff, sold and conveyed the said property for the consideration of $20,970, over and above all incumbrances, and took in payment thereof a purchase-money mortgage upon said property. That said mortgage was paid off and canceled on or about March 22, 1904, since which time defendant has reinvested said sum upon bond and mortgage on real property in the city of New York which she now owns and holds." That plaintiff has demanded and requested that defendant shall furnish him with board and lodging in her family, which she has refused and still refuses to do, and has thereby broken and repudiated her agreement, and that plaintiff has elected to rescind the deed. That defendant induced plaintiff to make the said deed by her express promise and agreement as aforesaid, and that she made and entered into the agreement for the purpose and with the intent of deceiving and defrauding him, and without any intention on her part to perform and keep the said agreement and the said conditions. The complaint asks for a rescission and cancellation of the deed, the payment over to plaintiff of the proceeds of the sale of the property, an accounting of the income derived from the sale and its proceeds, and such other relief as may be just and equitable, and for an injunction in the meantime to prevent defendant from disposing of or parting with the proceeds of the sale. The conveyance of property upon no other consideration than that the grantee shall furnish the grantor with support and maintenance is by no means uncommon, especially in agricultural communities, and many cases are to be found in the books wherein, upon the refusal of the grantee to fulfill his agreement, the deed has been rescinded or other equitable relief has been accorded. Stehle v. Stehle, 39 App. Div. 440, 57 N. Y. Supp. 201; Goldsmith v. Goldsmith, 145 N. Y. 313, 39 N. E. 1067. If the title to the real estate had remained in defendant, there would have been no question as to plaintiff's right to maintain an action for specific equitable relief.
The defendant insists, however, that, since the defendant has parted with the property and no decree can operate directly upon it, the plaintiff must have recourse to his action at law for damages, and that a suit in equity will not lie. The consideration for the deed was to be paid in the future by giving to plaintiff the board and lodging agreed to be furnished him, and, so long as he lived and continued to require board and lodging, the obligation to furnish them to himthat is to say, the obligation to pay the consideration continued. In accepting, as the sole consideration for his deed, the defendant's agreement to provide for him during life, the plaintiff reposed in her a degree of confidence which imparted to her and to the property a trust relation for his benefit to the extent of the agreed support, and in selling the property and thus putting it out of her power to specifically perform her agreement, and in refusing to substantially perform it in another house, the defendant has violated the trust re
posed in her. Although she may not have held the property strictly speaking as a trustee, there entered into her relation with the plaintiff an element of quasi trusteeship sufficient to entitle him to seek relief in equity. Cornwell v. Clement, 10 App. Div. 446, 42 N. Y. Supp. 295. The degree of relationship or affinity between the plaintiff and defendant, although in fact one implying some degree of mutual confidence, is really unimportant in view of the allegations of the complaint, which stand admitted by the demurrer, that the deed was made in reliance upon defendant's promise. That the property has been sold offers no obstacle to equitable relief, since it appears that the proceeds can be traced and identified. Am. Sugar Ref. Co. v. Fancher, 145 N. Y. 552, 40 N. E. 206, 27 L. R. A. 757. If the plaintiff is entitled to a rescission of his deed, or, what is equivalent thereto, a payment over of the proceeds of the sale, he may also be entitled to an accounting of the income at least from the time when, by selling the property, the defendant put it out of her power to fulfill her agreement, and here again is a right enforceable only in equity. The complaint is not definite as to when the defendant refused to furnish the plaintiff with the home she had agreed to furnish, and it may be that he will be able only to establish his right to something less than a complete rescission. Stehle v. Stehle, supra. The defendant also admits for the purposes of the demurrer that she never intended to carry out her agreement with plaintiff, but made that agreement solely to induce him to convey the property to her, and that he did so convey it; he believing and relying upon these promises. If these allegations should be established on the trial, a strong case would be made out for charging the defendant as a trustee ex maleficio, at least from the moment of the unauthorized sale of the property. Cornwell v. Clement, supra. The prayer for general relief will enable the court to award such relief as the facts, as proven upon the trial, may warrant.
The judgment appealed from must be affirmed, with costs to the appellant, with leave to respondent to withdraw her demurrer and to answer within 20 days upon payment of costs in this court and the court below. All concur, except INGRAHAM, J., who dissents.
INGRAHAM, J. (dissenting). I do not concur with Mr. Justice SCOTT in the conclusion that the plaintiff is entitled to rescind this transaction or cancel the deed to the defendant. The transaction as set out in the complaint was a valid conveyance of real property, the consideration for which was the contract made by the defendant by which the plaintiff was to have a room and a home for his natural life in the dwelling house on the property conveyed without expense to him, and to have for his natural life board with the defendant and her family in said dwelling house. The transaction was complete, the property conveyed for a valuable consideration, and the plaintiff was entitled to enforce the agreement. The subsequent failure of defendant to comply with the agreement did not destroy the consideration as the obligation to perform the contract still existed. The motive of the defendant as alleged was not fraud which justified rescinding the whole transaction.