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 common illustration of these rules is found where A owns realty, lets a contract to C for erecting a building thereon and subsequently finding that C cannot get credit from B, A agrees to pay B for certain articles to be furnished by B to C for use on A's property. In such cases if A's promise is such as to make him primarily liable, his promise is not within this clause of the statute of frauds.1 Similar considerations control A's promise to pay B for labor done for C.2 The same rule applies where A is the chief contractor, C a subcontractor and A promises B to pay for supplies furnished to C.3 If, on the other hand, A's promise, whether he is owner or contractor, leaves C still liable, and is merely a promise to pay C's debt in case C does not pay it, the statute of frauds applies.4 Thus where the subcontractor asked the owner on settlement with the contractor to withhold the amount due from such contractor to such subcontractor, and the owner replied that he would have to pay the contractor when he called for his money, it was held that if such answer purported to create any sort of liability it was liability for the debt of another.5
Conn. 468; 25 Am. St. Rep. 343; 22 Atl. 1014.
11 Garrett-Williams Co. v. Ham-ill, 131 N. C. 57; 42 S. E. 448.
1 Bucbanan v. Moran, 62 Conn. 83; 25 Atl. 396; Craft v. Kendrick, 39 Fla. 90; 21 So. 803; Sext v. Geise, 80 Ga. 698; 6 S. E. 174; Berkowsky v. Viall, 66 111. App. 349; Schultz v. Babcock, 64 111. App. 199; Cornell v. Electric Co., 61 111. App. 325; Lynch v. Scroth, 50 111. App. 668; Gibson County Commissioners v. Heating Co., 128 Ind. 240; 12 L. R. A. 502; 27 N. E. 612; Cedar Valley Mfg. Co. v. Starbard (la.) , 89 N. W. 14; Hall v. Alford, 105 Ky. 664; 49 S. W. 444; Phelps v. Stone, 172 Mass. 355; 52 N. E. 517; Rand v. Mather, 11 Cush.
(Mass.) 1; 59 Am. Dec. 131; Wil-helm v. Voss, 118 Mich. 106; 76 N. W. 308; McLaughlin v. Austin, 104 Mich. 489; 62 N. W. 719; Lamont v. La Fevre, 96 Mich. 175; 55 N. W. 687; Bice v. Building Co., 96 Mich. 24; 55 N. W. 382; Herendeen Mfg. Co. v. Moore, 66 N. J. L. 74; 48 Atl. 525; Crawford v. Edison, 45 O. S. 239; 13 N. E. 80.
2 Franks v. Stevens, 82 Mich. 192; 46 N. W. 369; Lewis v. Mfg. Co., 156 Pa. St. 217; 27 Atl. 20. In Wilhelm v. Voss, 118 Mich. 106; 76 N. W. 308, it was said that if B abandons his contract with C and looks to A alone, the statute of frauds does not apply, but that otherwise it does.
3Ledbetter v. McGhees, 84 Ga. 227; 10 S. E. 727; Barras v. Coal Co., 38 Neb. 311; 56 N. W. 890; Mackey v. Smith, 21 Or. 598; 28 Pac. 974.