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 objection that a statute impairs the obligation of contracts can be made only by one who is prejudiced thereby. Parties whose rights are only incidentally affected cannot object.1 Thus an act of the legislature ending a contract between the state and a canal company, to the possible prejudice of the United States, cannot be attacked as invalid by one whose sole interest was the benefit incidentally received because of the proximity of his lands to the canal.2 So a corporation3 or stockholders thereof4 who have voluntarily accepted a statutory modification of the corporate charter, cannot thereafter object that such modification impairs the obligation of their contracts and no one else can make such objection. After a mortgage was given a law was passed affecting the right of redemption. Subsequently the property was sold at foreclosure sale and bought in by one other than the mortgagee. It was held that whatever the rights of the mortgagee might have been, such purchaser could not attack such statute as impairing the obligation of his contract.5
38 Houston, etc., Ry. v. Texas, 177 U. S. 66.
39 Construing a grant of a tract of land in a navigable harbor, and holding it to pass only an easement to build wharves. Land Co. v. Hotel, 134 N. C. 397; sw& nomine, Shepherd's Point Land Co. v. Hotel, 46 S. E. 748.
1 Vought v. .Ry., 176 U. S. 481 (affirming Vought v. Ry., 58 O. S.
123; 50 N. E. 442) ; Williams v. Eg-gleston, 170 U. S. 304; Browne v. Turner, 176 Mass. 9; 56 N. E. 969; People v. Ry., 89 N. Y. 75.
2 Vought v. Ry., 176 U. S. 481 (affirming Vought v. Ry., 58 0. S. 123; 50 N. E. 442).
3 Phinney v. Hospital, 8S Md. 633; 42 Atl. 58.
4 State v. Light Co., 102 Ala. 594; 15 So. 347.