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Woodrick v. Wood

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    Bloomberg Law


    Brief Fact Summary. Samsung, the Defendant, ran a television ad to gain business for a VCR consciously depicting Vanna White, the Plaintiff, in front of a wheel resembling the wheel of fortune.  Plaintiff sued Defendant for appropriation.


    Synopsis of Rule of Law. 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.

     


    Facts. Patricia Woodrick, Plaintiff-appellant is appealing an injunction prohibiting Catherine Wood, defendant-appellee, from removing a barn that partially rests on a parcel of land in which Woodrick has a remainder interest.  George and Catherine Wood owned several parcels of land.  The barn is partially on both Lot #105 and Lot #106.  Catherine Wood has a life estate and a 75% remainder interest in Lot #105.  Patricia Woodrick has a 25% remainder interest in Lot #105.  Lot #106 is owned by Catherine Wood and Sheridian Wood.  Patricia Woodrick has no ownership interest in Lot #106.  Catherine and George’s daughter Sheridan sought to raze the barn 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 Patricia’s argument, but awarded her the value of the barn, $3200. 


    Issue. Whether the holder of a remainder interest in a parcel of land may prohibit the life tenant of such property from destroying structures of value on the land even if such removal of those structures would increase the property value.

     


    Held. Judgment affirmed.   While at common law anything that altered leased premises in any way constituted waste, as long as there is no diminution of the value of the property destroying structures of value on land does not constitute waste. 

     


    Dissent.  

     


    Discussion. In this particular case the main issue became that the barn that Sheridian sought to raze, although rotting, was of some value and had a value of $3200.  However, the destruction of the rotting barn would increase the property value substantially.  The court was able to strike a balance between the irony of destroying something of value to make a property more valuable, by awarding Patricia the value of the barn of $3,200.

     



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