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The Louisiana Code declares that contracts prohibited by law or contrary to good morals or public order shall have no effect.
Plaintiff curator filed an action to recover from the executor of deceased Antoine Carraby the sum of $55,000, the value of certain property, which was conveyed to the Carraby’s by simulated sales. It was not denied that the pretended sale of lots and other property by the curator's decedent to the executor's decedent was for the double purpose of protecting the property against the pursuits of the former's creditors and of securing reimbursement of certain loans and advances with usurious interest and that to an extent it was successful. The Court of Probates awarded the curator the value of the property. Defendant executor appealed, interposing a peremptory exception founded upon the alleged illegal and immoral character of the agreements between the original parties and invoked the maxims of law, "allegans turpitudinem suam non est audiendus" and "ex turpi causa non oritur actio."
Could the agreements between the original parties be enforced, thereby entitling the plaintiff curator to recover the value of the property sold by simulated sale?
The court pointed out that the Louisiana Code declared that an obligation without a cause or with a false or an unlawful one could have no effect. According to the court, no action can be maintained on a contract the consideration of which was wicked in itself or prohibited by law. In the case at bar, it was enough that the curator was plaintiff to let in the enquiry as to the turpitude of the transactions out of which the suit had grown. After reviewing the applicable legal principles, the court held that the exception should have been sustained.