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.
A false representation as to the credit, character, and the like, of a third person is not within that clause of the statute of frauds which refers to contracts "to answer for the debt, default or miscarriage of another," and need not be in writing.1 The liability contemplated by the statute is one on contract. If any liability is sought to be enforced by reason of false representations, it is one in tort. It is for this reason that the statute does not apply. The result is, in some respects, peculiar. By false oral representation as to B's credit, A may become personally liable; while he would not be personally liable if he had specifically contracted
Mass. 655, 2 L. R. A. (N.S.) 821, 76 N. E. 217; American Pure Food Co. v. Elliott, 151 N. Car. 393, 31 L. R. A. (N.S.) 010, 66 S. E. 451; Elhott Supply Co. v. Lish. 36 N. D. 640, 163 N. W. 271.
2 Board of Water Commissioners v. Robbins, 82 Conn. 623, 74 Atl. 938. bee, however, Emerson-Brantingham Implement Co. v. Wood, - Colo. - , 165 Ac. 263.
3 See ch. LXIX .
1 Georgia. Maddox v. Rowe, 23 Ga. 431, 68 Am. Dec. 535.
Illinois. Tate v. Watts, 42 III. App. 103.
Missouri. Grove v. Fulsome, 16 Mo. 543, 57 Am. Dec. 247; Corder v. O'Neill, 176 Mo. 401, 75 S. W. 764.
Flew York. Bork v. Martin, 132 N. Y. 280, 28 Am. St. Rep. 570, 30 N. E. 584.
Oregon. Foss v. Newbury, 20 Or. 257, 25 Ac. 669.
2 Tate v. Watts, 42 III. App. 103.
1 England. Pasley v. Freeman, 3 T. R. 51; Haycraft v. Creasy, 2 East 92.
United States, Iasigi v. Brown, 58 U. S. (17 How.) 183, 15 L. ed. 208; Kemp v. Bank, 109 Fed. 48, 48 C. C. A. 213.
Illinois. Endsley v. Johns, 120 III. 469, 60 Am. Rep. 572, 12 N. E. 247.
Kansas. Robbins v. Barton, 50 Kan. 120, 31 Ac. 686.
Michigan. Hess v. Culver, 77 Mich. 598, 18 Am. St. Rep. 421, 6 L. R. A. 498, 43 N. W. 994. .
New Jersey. Westervelt v. Demar-est, 46 N. J. L. 37, 50 Am. Rep. 400; Cowley v. Smyth, 46 N. J. L. 380, 50 Am. Rep. 432.
New York. Upton v. Vail, 6 Johns. (N. Y.) 181, 5 Am. Dec 210. See also, to discharge B's liability if B was unable to do so,2 Thus a representation made by an officer of a bank to a depositor with reference to the solvency of the bank may be actionable fraud though not in writing.3
A statute which provides that a contract "is void" and that "evidence * * * of the agreement shall not be received other than in writing," has been construed so as to render evidence of oral negotiations preceding such contract inadmissible in an action to recover damages for fraudulent representations which induced the adversary party to enter into such contract.4