Weiner v. Romley

In Weiner v. Romley, 94 Ariz. 40, 381 P.2d 581 (1963), a car owned by a wife as separate property was attached in a third-party's lawsuit against her husband. Id. at 42, 381 P.2d at 582. The husband's attorney prepared and had the wife co-sign a letter to the plaintiff stating that she and her husband owned a house together and that if the plaintiff would release the car, they would agree not to sell the house without the plaintiff's permission. Id. The letter was false because the house, too, was owned solely by wife as her separate property. Id. After the car was released and the plaintiff succeeded in his case against the husband, the plaintiff attached the house and sold it to satisfy the judgment. Id. When the wife brought a quiet title action, the defendant argued that the wife could not succeed in equity because she lacked clean hands, having signed the letter that mischaracterized the character of the house. Id. The court rejected that argument because of the principle that "misconduct which will deprive a party of equitable relief must be willful." Id. at 43, 381 P.2d at 583. The court granted the wife relief, concluding that the evidence showed that the wife was merely mistaken in signing the letter and there was no evidence that she had "intentionally soiled" her hands, acted willfully to deceive or had otherwise acted in bad faith. Id. at 43, 381 P.2d at 583.