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.
In the absence of statute the interest of the promisees can not be made joint and several at the same time by any form of words.1 Such a contract creates a joint interest in the promisees,2 and not a several interest which may be enforced by any one of such promisees severally.3
A different rule has been applied under the Negotiable Instruments Law.4 A promissory note which is made payable to the order of A or B, may be indorsed by A alone so as to make the indorsee a bona fide holder.5 The fact that a negotiable instrument is endorsed to two endorsees in the alternative, does not destroy its negotiability under the Negotiable Instruments Law.6 While the mere form of the promise can not make the interest of the promisees joint and several, it has been held that the nature of the transaction may in some exceptional instances have this effect. This security was given jointly to several creditors to protect their several claims. It was held that they could enforce the application of such security to their claims either jointly or severally.7