This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If an offer of a reward is made for arrest,1 or for arrest and conviction,2 such offer is not accepted by furnishing information, although such information may result ultimately in the detection, arrest and conviction of the criminal; A reward for the arrest of a specified criminal can not be recovered by one who furnishes information as to the whereabouts of such criminal when the act of placing such criminal under arrest will involve great personal danger to the person making the arrest.3 The person who actually makes the arrest is entitled to the reward.4 A reward for the return of certain articles, "no questions asked," is not accepted by the act of giving information which enables the owner to recover sack articles in a subsequent proceeding.5 A reward for an arrest implies an offer for a lawful arrest, and it can not be accepted by an unlawful arrest.6 An offer for an arrest can not be recovered by one to whom the fugitive surrenders voluntarily if such fugitive has been arrested by an officer, although he then escaped from such officer and was being closely pursued when he surrenders to such claimant.7 The fact that the officer who made the original arrest did so in the line of his duty and accordingly can not recover the reward,8 does not entitle the person to whom the fugitive surrendered in order to prevent recapture, to recover the reward.9 An offer of a reward for the arrest of a criminal who is a fugitive from justice is not accepted by the arrest of such criminal after he has returned voluntarily to consult his attorney and to await trial when he is making no attempt to avoid arrest.f0 If a reward is offered for the capture and return of runaway slaves, such reward can not be recovered by one who seized such slaves when they were attempting to return voluntarily, and who subsequently abandoned them.11 If a newspaper offers a reward to anyone who identifies an employe of such paper and who addresses him in a specified manner, such reward can not be recovered by one who has been told by a servant of such newspaper employe that such person is the one indicated by such newspaper, and who identifies such employe at his residence.12
16 Lowe v. Keens, 90 Neb. 565, 133 N. W. 1127.
17 Osborn v. Crosby, 63 N. H. 583, 3 Atl. 429; Carr v. Bartlett, 72 Me. 120; Hunt v. Upton, 44 Wash. 124, 87 Ac. 56.
18 Hunt v. Upton, 44 Wash. 124, 87 Ac. 56.
19 Hunt v. Upton, 44 Wash. 124, 87 Ac. 56.
20 John E. DeWolf Co. v. Harvey, 161 Wis. 535, 154 N. W. 988.
1 Chambers v. Ogle, 117 Ark. 242, 174 S. W. 532.
2 Williams v. West Chicago Street Railroad Co., 191 111. 610, 61 N. E. 456.
3 McClaughry v. King, 147 Fed. 463| 7 L. R. A. (N.S.) 216, 79 C. C. A. 91 [affirming McClaughry v. King, 135 Fed. 195].
4 Russell v. Stewart, 44 Vt. 179.
Questions as to the effect of partial performance which are less than substantial performance are raised when an apportionment is sought of the compensation which has been offered. If the offer, by its terms, provides for an apportionment in case of partial performance, effect must be given to such provision.13 If a reward is offered for the apprehension and conviction of offenders in several different cases, "a proportionate reward in each case," it is clear that recovery may be had by one person for the apprehension and conviction of an offender in one of such cases, even if another person had rendered services in causing such apprehension and conviction.14 If the offer of a promise to be accepted by doing an act does not provide for an apportionment in case of partial performance, no apportionment is ordinarily given if there is a partial performance which does not amount to substantial performance.15 It has, however, been held on grounds of expediency and public policy, rather than on grounds of contract law, that an apportionment may be had if the performance is beneficial to the offeror, although it falls short of substantial performance.16 If A offers a reward of two hundred dollars for the recovery of fifteen hundred dollars which he lost, it has been held that B may recover a proportionate amount of such reward if he gives information which enables A to recover one thousand dollars of such amount and to secure the note of the finder of such money for the balance, together with certain security for such note.17
5 Simpson v. Twenty-eighth Street Co., 156 N. Y. S. 87, 92 Misc. Rep. 399.
6 Moore v. Peace (Ky.), 97 S. W. 762.
7 Stair v. Heska Amone Congregation, 128 Tenn. 190, 159 S. W. 840.
8 See Sec. 586 and 892 et seq.
9 Stair v. Heska Amone Congregation, 128 Tenn. 190, 159 S, W. 840.
10 Board of Supervisors v. Wright, 111 Miss. 790, 72 So. 226.
11 Goldsborough v. Cradle, 28 Md. 477.
12 Davidson v. Times Printing Co., 63 Wash. 577, 34 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1164, 116 Ac. 18.
13 Janvrin v. Exeter, 48 N. H. 83, 2 Am. Rep. 185.
If an offer is made which is to be accepted by doing an act, such act may be done by two or more in co-operation unless by its terms the offer requires performance by a single individual.18 If two or more who do not co-operate, each perform in part, so that the aggregate of such performance of each amounts to a performance of the offer, it is not clear whether recovery can be had at law. Possibly no relief could be given in an action at law, since the offeror ought not to be exposed to separate actions, and since the different parties who performed in part could not join unless they had acted together. It has been held that if a reward is offered for the arrest of a criminal, such reward may be recovered by the person who made the arrest, although he made it on information furnished by another.19 In a number of cases where the offeror was willing to pay the amount provided for in the offer, it has been held that equity can apportion such amount between the different persons, each of whom has performed in part.20 It is said that in case of an offer of a reward, equity will pro-rate the amount among persons who gave information or rendered services in proportion to the value of such services.21 On the other hand, it was held that one who gave evidence which tended ultimately to the identification of the criminal, but who rendered no other assistance in capturing or convicting him, is not entitled to a proportionate share of the reward in equity.22 In most of these cases the offeror sought interpleader and conceded his liability, and no question was raised except as to the identity of the persons who were to participate in the fund. At any rate, one of the parties who has performed in part can not object to a proceeding in equity in interpleader to apportion such amount.23
14 Janvrin v. Exeter, 48 N. H. 83, 2 Am. Rep. 185.
15 See Sec. 130 et seq. and 191.
16 Symmes v. Frazier, 6 Mass. 344, 4 Am. Dee. 142.
17 Svmmes v. Frazier, 6 Mass. 344, 4 Am. Dec. 142.
18 Chambers v. Ogle, 117 Ark. 242, 174 S. W. 532; Goldsborough v. Cradie, 28 Md. 477.
19 Russell v. Stewart, 44 Vt. 170.
20 Union Ac. R. Co. v. Belek, 211 Fed. 600: Bloomfield V. Malonev, 176 Mich. 548, 142 N. W. 785; Forsythe v. Murnane, 113 Minn. 181, 129 N. W. 134; Kinn v. First National Bank, 118 Wis. 537, 99 Am. St. Rep. 1012/ 95 N. W. 969.