Same - Alteration Of A Written Instrument

257. If a deed or contract in writing is altered by addition or erasure, it is discharged, provided the alteration is made -

(a) In a material part, so that it changes the legal effect of the instrument. It need not necessarily be prejudicial.

(b) By a party to the contract, or by a stranger with his consent.

(c) Intentionally.

(d) Without the consent of the other party.

The alteration of a deed, or of a simple contract in writing, if made under the circumstances stated above, will operate as a discharge of the contract, the law imposing this severe penalty as a safeguard against tampering with written instruments.9 The alteration,

Gregory v. Thomas, 20 Wend. (N. Y.) 17; Bill v. Porter, 9 Conn. 23; ante, pp. 71, 546; See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 245; Cent. Dig. §§ 1129, 1130.

4Holmes v. Bell, 3 Man. & G. 213; Witbeck v. Waine, 16 N. Y. 532. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 245; Cent. Dig. §§ 1129, 1130.

5 Hooper's Case, 2 Leon. 110; Banorgee v. Hovey, 5 Mass. 11, 4 Am. Dec. 17; Doty v. Martin, 32 Mich. 462. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 245; Cent. Dig. §§ 1129, 1130.

6 Day v. Leal, 14 Johns. (N. Y.) 404; Butler v. Miller, 1 Denio (N. Y.) 407. And see the cases cited in the preceding note; ante, p. 71, note 50. See "Contracts." Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 245; Cent. Dig. §§ 1129, 1130.

7Ante, p. 490.

8 9 Cyc. Law & Proc. 635; ante, p. 71.

9 Suffell v. Bank, 9 Q. B. Div. 555; WOOD v. STEELE, 6 Wall. 80, 18 L. Ed. 725, Throckmorton Cas. Contracts, 407; Angle v. Insurance Co., 92 U. S. 330, 23 L. Ed. 556; Mersman v. Werges, 112 U. S. 139, 5 Sup. Ct 65, 28 L. Ed to have this effect, must be material; that is, it must change the legal effect of the instrument.10 Whether it is material or not must, of course, depend upon the character of the instrument. Adding words of negotiability to a note or changing or cutting from a note a memorandum limiting its effect as a negotiable instrument or otherwise,11 or in any way altering it so as to destroy or change its negotiability;12

641; Osgood v. Stevenson, 143 Mass. 399, 9 N. E. 825; McGrath v. Clark, 56 N. T. 34, 15 Am. Rep. 372; Draper v. Wood, 112 Mass. 315, 17 Am. Rep. 92; Neff v. Horner, 63 Pa. 327, 3 Am. Rep. 555; Kilkelly v. Martin, 34 Wis. 525; Montag v. Linn, 23 I11. 551; Nicholson v. Combs, 90 Ind. 515, 46 Am. Rep. 229; Holmes v. Trumper, 22 Mich. 427, 7 Am. Rep. 661; Marsh v. Griffin, 42 Iowa, 403; .33tna Nat Bank v. Winchester, 43 Conn. 391; Morrison v. Garth, 78 Mo. 434; Johnson v. Moore, 33 Kan. 90, 5 Pac. 406. Alteration nullifies a negotiable instrument even against a bona fide purchaser. Master v. Miller, 4 T. R. 320; Burchfield v. Moore, 3 El. & Bl. 683; Wait v. Pomeroy, 20 Mich. 425, 4 Am. Rep. 395; Citizens' Nat. Bank v. Richmond, 121 Mass. 110; Horn v. Bank, 32 Kan. 518, 4 Pac. 1022; Gettysburg Nat. Bank v. Chisholm, 169 Pa. 564, 32 Atl. 730, 47 Am. St. Rep. 929; Exchange Nat. Bank v. Bank, 58 Fed. 140, 7 C. C. A. Ill, 22 L. R. A. 686; Seebolt v. Tatlie, 76 Minn. 131, 78 N. W. 967. This rule has been modified in many states by the Negotiable Instruments Law, so as to enable a holder in due course to enforce the instrument against a party making, authorizing, or assenting to the alteration and subsequent indorsers. Norton, Bills & N. (3d Ed.) 246. See "Alteration of Instruments," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 16-18; Cent. Dig. §§ 114-145.

10 Fuller v. Green, 64 Wis. 159, 24 N. W. 907, 54 Am. Rep. 600 (collecting cases); Burlingame v. Brewster, 79 I11. 515, 22 Am. Rep. 177; Birdsall v. Russell, 29 N. T. 220; Manufacturers' Bank v. Follett, 11 R. I. 92, 23 Am. Rep. 418; Wessell v. Glenn, 108 Pa. 104; Miller v. Reed, 27 Pa. 244, 07 Am. Dec. 459; Palmer v. Largent, 5 Neb. 223, 25 Am. Rep. 479; Leonard v. Phillips, 39 Mich. 182, 33 Am. Rep. 370. Filling blanks with name of party, or more specific description of property, will not avoid contract, since it does not change legal effect. Briscoe v. Reynolds, 51 Iowa, 673, 2 N. W. 529; Rowley v. Jewett, 56 Iowa, 492, 9 N. W. 353. Figures in- margin being no part of the note, their alteration is immaterial. Johnston Harvester Co. v. Mclean, 57 Wis. 258, 15 N. W. 177, 46 Am. Rep. 39. It has been held in England that, though in a bank note the promise to pay made by the bank is not touched by an alteration in the number of the note, the fact that a bank note is a part of the currency, and that the number placed on it is put to important uses by the bank and by the public for the detection of forgery and theft, causes an alteration in the number to be material, and to invalidate the note. Suffell v. Bank, 9 Q. B. Div. 555. Contra, as to bonds. Birdsall v. Russell, 29 N. Y. 220; City of Elizabeth v. Force, 29 N. J. Eq. 5S7. -See "Alteration of Instruments," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 2; Cent. Dig. §§ 1-.',.

11 Benedict v. Cowden, 49 N. Y. 396, 10 Am. Rep. 382; Walt v. Pomeroy, 20 Mich. 425, 4 Am. Rep. 395; Gerrish v. Glines, 56 N. H. 9; Johnson v. Heagan, 23 Me. 329; Wheelock v. Freeman, 13 Pick. (Mass.) 165, 23 Am. Dec. 674; Cochran v. Nebeker, 48 Ind. 459; Davis v. Henry, 13 Neb. 497, 14 N. W. 523; Stephens v. Davis, 85 Tenn. 271, 2 S. W. 382. See "Alteration of Instruments," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 5; Cent. Dig. §§ 18-29.

12 Booth v. Powers, 56 N. Y. 22; Union Nat. Bank v. Roberts, 45 Wis. 373; Needles v. Shaffer, 60 Iowa, 65, 14 N. W. 129; Belknap v. Bank, 100 Mass.

altering an instrument by erasing, crossing out, or otherwise canceling a material part thereof, without the substitution of new matter;18 under some circumstances, adding a seal to an instrument, or effacing a seal,14 changing the date of a note or other security,18 or the time of payment,16 or the place of payment,17 or the amount to be paid, either by lessening or increasing the principal,18 or by changing the rate of interest, or adding a provision for interest;18 adding to or withdrawing from an instrument the name of a maker, drawer, or, according to some of the cases, a surety, after the instrument has been executed 20 - are all material alterations. But "an alteration which