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Johnson v. Hendrickson

South Dakota Supreme Court
71 S.D. 392 (1946)


Facts

Katie Hendrickson was married to Henry Bauman. They had three children—Grace, Arthur, and Vernon (plaintiffs). When Henry died, one-third of his land was devised to Katie and two-ninths to each of the children. Katie later married Karl Hendrickson (defendant). They had two children, Kenneth and Karrol (defendants). During their marriage, Katie and Karl remodeled their house and constructed new buildings, including a barn and a hog house, at a cost of over $9,000. Grace, Arthur, and Vernon were also living on the property during this time and made substantial contributions to the family income. Katie died, leaving one-half of her land to Karl and one-fourth to each of Karl’s sons. Grace, Arthur, and Vernon filed suit, contending that the land could not be physically divided among the various owners and asking that it be sold in one tract. Karl and his sons claimed that they were entitled to compensation from Grace, Arthur, and Vernon for the improvements made on the property. The circuit court ordered that the land be sold and determined that compensating Karl and his sons would be inequitable. Karl and his sons appealed to the state supreme court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sickel, J.)

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