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.
Whether a contract under seal, if intended for the benefit of a third party, may be enforced by him is a question upon which there is a divergence of opinion in jurisdictions where a third person can enforce a simple contract for his benefit. The original Common Law rule was that no action could be maintained on an indenture except by the parties thereto,1 but a third person could maintain an action on a deed-poll against the party executing it if he could sue on a simple contract.2 The modern rule, influenced in part by statutes allowing a sealed instrument to be treated for purposes of bringing actions as if it were unsealed, allows third persons to sue on sealed contracts wherever they could sue on simple contracts.3 Where a third person cannot sue on a simple contract for his benefit he cannot of course sue on a sealed contract.4
5 State v. Hill, 60 Fed. 1005; 24 L. R. A. 170.
6 McGuire v. Glass, 4 Tex. App. Civ. 78; 15 S. W. 127.
7 Williams v. Simons, 70 Fed. 40; 16 C. C. A. 628.
8 Moede v. Haines, 66 Minn. 419; 69 N. W. 216; denying the authority of, Dallas v. Savings Co., 158 Pa. St. 444; 27 Atl. 1055.
9 Court of Insolvency v. Meldon, 69 Vt. 510; 38 Atl. 167.
10 Curry v. Homer, 62 O. S. 233; 56 N. E. 870.
11 Babcock v. Carter, 117 Ala. 575; 67 Am. St. Rep. 193; 23 So. 487.
12Raynsford v. Phelps, 43 Mich. 342; 38 Am. Rep. 189; 5 N. W. 403. (In this case the officer made a false return of "no goods.") Contra, State v. Harris, 89 Ind. 363; 46 Am. Rep. 169.
1 Huckabee v. May. 14 Ala. 263;