Eyerman v. Mercantile Trust Co., 524 S.W.2d 210 (1975)

524 S.W.2d 210 (Mo. Ct. App. 1975)

 

RULE:

In the absence of guidance from authorities in its own jurisdiction, courts may look to the judicial decisions of sister states for assistance in discovering expressions of public policy.

FACTS:

The owner of a Missouri home died and in her will, directed her executor to raze the home, sell the lot, and transfer the proceeds to the residuary of the estate. The neighbors filed a petition for injunction against the razing, which was denied. On appeal, the court reversed the denial of the injunction. The court held that to allow the condition in the will would be in violation of the public policy of Missouri.

ISSUE:

Is the razing of the home in accordance to testator's will contrary to public policy?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

In a case of first impression where there are no guiding statutes, judicial decisions or constitutional provisions, "a judicial determination of the question becomes an expression of public policy provided it is so plainly right as to be supported by the general will." Although public policy may evade precise, objective definition, it is evident from the authorities cited that this senseless destruction serving no apparent good purpose is to be held in disfavor. A well-ordered society cannot tolerate the waste and destruction of resources when such acts directly affect important interests of other members of that society.

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