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 promise to two or more promisees severally gives to each a right to demand performance,1 and each may bring an action upon the contract.2 A contract by which A employs B and C as his counsel, which provides that A "has and hereby does covenant with said B and said C severally that said A will pay to said B and to said C each in case of A's success in such suit, the sum of five thousand dollars," is a several contract; and if A discharges C and retains B, C may maintain an action against A upon such contract.3 If goods belong to A and B jointly and A enters into a contract with a carrier for the transportation of such goods, he may maintain a separate action upon such contract.4 The several promisees must each maintain his own action, and can not join in a common action.5 Attorneys who have several contracts with the same client may, however, join to have set aside a fraudulent compromise between such client and the adversary party.6 On the death of one of two or more several promisees, his rights pass to his legal representatives and -not to the remaining promisees.7
4 Martin v. Crump, 2 Salk. 444, Comb. 474 [sub nomine, Martin v. Crompe, 1 Ld. Raym. 340].
5 Peck v. Lampkin, - Ala. - , 75 So. 580.
1 Rawstorne v. Gandell, 15 M. & W. 304; Clark v. Patton, 27 Ky. (4 J. J. Mar.) 33, 20 Am. Dec. 203; Eastman v. Wright, 23 Mass. (6 Pick.). 316; Wiggin v. Tudor, 40 Mass. (23 Pick.) 434; Weakly v. Hall, 13 Ohio 167 (release by owner in common of chose in action).
See also, Black Mountain R. Co. v. Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corp., 175 N. Car. 566, 96 S. E. 25.
For the effect of releases and covenants not to sue, see Sec. 2446.
2 Phillips v. Clagett, 11 M. & W. 84; Piersons v. Hooker, 3 Johns. (N. T.) 68, 3 Am. Dec. 467.
Payment of a judgment in favor of one promisee is a bar to an action by the other promisee. Black Mountain R. Co. v. Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corp., 175 N. Car. 566, 96 S. E. 25.
3 Upjohn v. Ewing, 2 O. S. 13.
4 Upjohn v. Ewing, 2 O. S. 13. 5Piercy v. Fynney, L. R. 12 Eq. 69;
Skaife v. Jackson, 3 Barn. & C. 421.
1Hall v. Leigh, 12 U. S. (8 Cranch) 50, 3 L. ed. 484.
2 Hall v. Leigh, 12 U. S. (8 Cranch) 50, 3 L. ed. 484.
3 Ryan v. Martin, 16 Wis. 57.
4 Southern Kansas Railway Co. v. Morris, 100 Tex. 611, 123 Am. St. Rep. 834, 102 S. W. 396.
5 United States. Hall v. Leigh, 12 U. S. (8 Cranch) 50, 3 L ed. 484.
Colorado. Number Five Mining Co. v. Bruce, 4 Colo. 293.
Kansas. Curry v. Ry., 58 Kan. 6, 48 Pac. 579.
Michigan. Rorabacher v. Lee, 16 Mich. 169.
Vermont. Geer v. School District, 6 Vt. 76.
6 Mcintosh v. Zaring, 150 Ind. 301, 49 N. E. 164.
7Carthrae v. Brown, 30 Va. (3 Leigh.) 98.