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.
If a contract contains two or more covenants on either side, the question arises as to whether it is entire or severable. An entire contract is one the covenants of which have not been separated by the parties, and which accordingly can not be separated by the court.1 It is also said to be a contract in which the parties intend that each covenant shall be connected with and related to every other covenant.2 It is also said to be a contract which is intended to accomplish a single object.3 It is also said that an entire contract is one in which there is an entire consideration on each side.4 This, however, is rather a statement of a common test for determining whether a contract is entire or severable than an accurate definition. Since apportionment of consideration is not an unvarying test,5 it does not serve as the basis of a satisfactory definition.
1 Alabama. Ollinger & Bruce Thy Dock Co. v. Gibbony, - Ala. - , 81 So. 18.
Minnesota. Johnson v. Fehsefeldt, 106 Minn. 202, 20 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1069, 118 N. W. 707.
Mississippi. Oanong v. Brown, 88 Miss. 53, 117 Am. St. Rep. 731, 40 So. 556.
Oklahoma. Dunn v. T. J. Cannon Co., 51 Okla. 382, 151 Pac. 1167.
Rhode Island. Garon v. Credit Fonder Canadien, 37 R. I. 273, 92 Atl. 561
[rehearing denied, Garon v. Credit Fonder Canadien, 92 Atl. 1022].
Wisconsin. Sixta v. Ontonagon Valley Land Co., 157 Wis. 293, 147 N. W. 1042.
2 Pacific Timber Co. v. Iowa Windmill & Pump Co., 135 Ia. 308, 112 N. W. 771; Dunn v. T. J. Cannon Co., 51 Okla. 382, 151 Pac. 1167.
3 International Contracting Co. v. United States, 47 Ct. Cl. 158.
4 In re Hellams, 223 Fed. 460. 5 See Sec. 2088.
Such a contract is sometimes called an indivisible contract.6 If a contract which contains two or more covenants on one side is regarded by the parties as really consisting of two or more separate contracts, the contract is said to be severable.7 It is said that if the consideration is single, the contract is indivisible and entire.8 This last statement, however, is rather a test for ascertaining the true intention of the parties than a test for determining the legal effect of the contract when the intention is ascertained.