Woodrick v. Wood

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Dist., 1994.

1994 WL 236287.

Johnson, pp. 125-127

 

Facts: George and Catherine Wood owned some land.When George died, he left a life estate to Catherine, and then a remainder split 50/50 between his two children.Catherine and Sheridan, one of the children, wanted to tear down a rotting barn on the property, but the other child, Patricia, sued to enjoin them from tearing it down on the theory that it would amount to waste.The trial court rejected Patriciaís argument, but awarded her $3200, the value of the barn.Patricia appealed.

 

Issue: Is the holder of a remainder interest in some land entitled to stop the life tenant from destroying buildings there?

 

Rule: While at common law anything that altered leased premises in any way constituted waste, under Ohio case law there must be substantial damage to the reversion in order for waste to be actionable.

 

Analysis: The court finds that even though tearing down the rotting barn results in gross waste, it does not result in net waste because removing the barn actually increases the value of the property overall.If there is no reduction in the net value of the property, then there is no waste and no cause of action.The court accepts the lower courtís decision to award the value of the barn to Patricia as fair to both parties.

 

Conclusion: The trial courtís decision is upheld.

 

Back to Fee Simple Absolute and Life Estate

Back to Casebook Notes