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.
The parties to the contract must be clearly described therein.1 Thus a promise to an alternative payee is not negotiable.2 However, if the alternative payees are united in interest so that a payment to one is in legal effect a payment to the other, the instrument may be negotiable; as where it is payable to certain trustees or their treasurer,3 or where, at Common Law, it was payable to a man or his wife.4
Neb. (Un.) 177; 95 X. W. 355.
2 See Sec. 761.
3 See Sec. 571-575.
4 Handyside v. Cameron., 21 111. 588; 74 Am. Dec. 119; Shank v. Butsch, 28 Ind. 19; Lyons v. Holmes, 11 S. C. 429; 32 Am. Rep. 483.
5 Weston v. Myers, 33 111. 424.
6 Pennington v. Baehr, 48 Cal. 565.
7Lally v. Terrell. 95 Me. 553; 85 Am. St. Rep. 433; 55 L. R. A. 730; 50 Atl. 896; Harnett v. Hol-drege (Neb.), 97 N. W. 443. See Sec. 577, et seq.
8 See Sec. 1297.
9Enneking v. Woebkenberg. -Wis. -; 92 N. W. 9:12.
1 Tevis v. Young, 1 Metc. (Ky.) 197; 71 Am. Dec. 474; Mcintosh v. Lytle, 26 Minn. 336; 37 Am. Rep. 410; 3 N. W. 983; Randolph v. Hudson. 12 Okl. 516; 74 Pac. 946; Seay v. Bank. 3 Sneed (Tenn.) 558; 67 Am. Dec. 579.
2 Carpenter v. Farnsworth, 106 Mass. 561; 8 Am. Rep. 360. Contra, on the theory that " or " means "and" in such connection. Quinby v. Merritt, 11 Humph. (Tenn.) 439. So a note to "Chas. R. Whitesell et al. or order" is non-negotiable. Gordon v. Anderson, 83 la. 224; 32 Am. St. Rep. 302; 12 L. R. A. 483; 49 X. W. 86.
It is sufficient if the payee be pointed out by the instrument without being named. A note payable "to the estate of " A is negotiable.5 The addition of the word "trustee," to the name of the payee, does not make the payee uncertain.6 A note payable to "bearer" is negotiable.7 A blank for the name of the payee may be filled by a bona fide holder with his own name,8 or the instrument may be enforced without filling the blank, as payable to the order of the person for whom it was delivered.9 Other courts treat a negotiable instrument having the name of the payee blank as payable to bearer.10 If, however, the name of a specific payee has been inserted in a check and then crossed out, such check is non-negotiable.11