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 mistake in the date;1 in the rate of interest;2 or in the amount on which interest is to be computed;3 or the mistaken addition,4 or omission5 of a clause whereby the grantee assumes a mortgage; the omission of a clause deducting the amount of the mortgage from the purchase price;6 or excepting the principal of a prior mortgage from the covenants of a second mortgage;7 or the omission of a clause providing for a vendor's lien,8 may be reformed in equity. So other omissions,9 as in a clause intended to provide that a bond "shall be and remain a special lien upon the said property above described, and for the payment" of the note in question, the omission of "the said property above described";10 the omission of the consideration11 from a deed; the omission of a provision for ascertaining the amount of corn to be delivered as rent lor the land lease;12 an erroneous statement of a consideration in a deed, as love and affection, when in reality it is on a valuable consideration;13 an omission of the time for which a teacher is employed;14 an erroneous statement in a mortgage of the time at which the debt secured thereby matures;15 an omission of statutory requirements in a bill of sale of a vessel necessary to enable vendee to have it registered in his name as an American vessel;l6 or the omission of some of the descriptive marks identifying some of the logs sold,17 are all mistakes for which reformation is allowed. The contracts hitherto discussed have been chiefly contracts for conveying some interest in realty. Reformation, while more often needed in such contracts, is not confined to them. A contract of insurance may be reformed where there is a mistake in the expression,18 as where there is a mistake in the description of the property insured,19 or in the name of the beneficiary.20 An assignment of an insurance policy may be reformed,21 so as to include a condition which has been omitted therefrom.22 A contract executed by a surety may be reformed for mistake in expression, like any other contract.23 So the use of "heretofore" instead of "hereafter," referring to certain lots to be released from lien and mortgage upon payment;24 the insertion of the name of the holder of the legal title instead of that of the equitable owner in a clause imposing penalties for non-performance; 25 a misstatement as to the kind of money in which the instrument is payable;26 a covenant for "a semi-annual rent of three hundred dollars," instead of for an annual rent of three hundred dollars payable in semi-annual installments;27 or a covenant to pay five dollars per cubic foot when the real agreement was to pay five dollars per one hundred cubic feet,28 are all mistakes for which reformation can be had. Reformation may be given where by mistake an indorsement intended to be made without recourse is not so made.29 An executor's bond which by- mistake misstates the name of the decedent, whose estate is being administered, may be reformed to correct such mistake.30 A contract for work and labor may be reformed.31
Omission of a seal may be corrected. Probate Court v. Mav, 52 Vt. 182.
So where a seal was omitted from a mortgage. Allen v. Elder, 76 Ga. 674, 2 Am. St. Rep. 63. (Possibly this may have been a mistake of fact.)
8 San Bernardino National Bank v. Andreson (Cal), 32 Pac. 168; Mabb v. Merriam, 129 Cal. 663. 62 Pac. 212, Murphy v. Bank, 95 Ia. 325, 63 N. W 702; Morehead Banking Co. v. More-head, 124 N. Car. 622, 32 S. E. 067 [denying rehearing, 122 N. Car. 318, 30 S. E. 331]; Andrus v. Blazzard, 23 Utah 233, 54 L. R. A. 354, 63 Pac. 88S.
9Andrus v Blazzard, 23 Utah 233, 54 L. R. A. 354, 63 Pac. 88S.
10 San Bernardino National Bank v Andreson (Cal.), 32 Pac. 168.
11 Murphy v. Bank, 05 Ia. 325, G3 N. W. 702. A's belief wan due to the fraud of the president and the cashier. A could read, however, and kept the notes until the president and cashier had become insolvent, before seeking relief.
1 Lewiston v. Gagne, 89 Me. 305, 50 Am. St. Rep. 432, 36 Atl. 629; O'Don-nell v. Harmon, 3 Daly (N. Y.) 424; First National Bank v. Pearson, 119 N. Car. 404, 26 S. E. 46; Cameron v. White, 71 Wis. 425, 5 L. R. A. 493, 43 N. W. 155.
2 Loudcrmilk v. Loudermilk, 98 Ga. 780 25 S. E. 027; Greene v. Smith, 160 N Y. 533, 55 N. E. 210.
3 Rider v. Powell, 28 N. Y. 310.
4 Adams v. Wheeler, 122 Ind. 251, 23 N. E. 760; Jones v. Price (Ia.), 86 N. W. 219; Stead v. Sampson, - Ia. - , 155 N. W. 978.
5 Williams v. Everham. 90 Ia. 420, 57 N. W. 901. (Where the property was conveyed "subject" to a mortgage, the parties intending that the grantee should assume it.) Stephenson v. Elliott. 53 Kan. 550, 36 Pac. 980.
6 Burns v. Caskey, 100 Mich. 94, 58 N. W. 642.
7Allis v. Hall, 76 Conn. 322, 56 Atl. 637.
8Worley v. Tuggle, 67 Ky. (4 Bush.) 168.
9 England. Viditz v. O'Hagan , 2 Ch. 560.
Kentucky. Rice v. Hall (Ky.), 42 R. W. 99.
Minnesota. Smith v. Jordan, 13 Minn. 264, 07 Am. Dec. 232.
New York. Pitcher v. Hennessey, 48 N. Y. 415.
Ohio. Young v. Miller, 10 Ohio 85.
10 Smith v. Brunk, 14 Colo. 75, 23 Pac. 325.
11Huss v. Morris, 63 Pa. St. 367.
12Reid v. Cook, 88 Ia. 717, 54 N. W. 353.
Reformation may supply the omission of a provision by which the lessee was to pay taxes. Perkins v. Kirby, 39 R. I. 343, 97 Atl. 884.
13Orr v. Echols, 110 Ala. 340, 24 So. 357.
14 Marion School Township v. Carpenter, 12 Ind. App. 101, 30 N. E. 878
15 Commercial National Bank v. Johnson, 16 Wash. 536, 48 Pac. 267.
16Sprague v. Thurber, 17 R. I. 454, 22 Atl. 1057.
17 Smith v. Jordan, 13 Minn. 2G4, 07 Am. Dec. 232.
18 Equitable Safety Ins. Co. v. Hearne, 87 U. S. (20 Wall.) 404, 22 L. cd. 308; Western Assurance Co. v. Ward, 75 Fed. 338; State Mutual Insurance Co. v. Green, - Okla. - , L. R. A. 1017F, 663, 166 Pac. 105.
19 Home Ins. Co. v. Myer, 03 111. 271; German Fire Ins. Co. v. Gueck, 130 111. 345, 6 L. R. A. 835, 23 N. E. 112; Mahcr v. Ins. Co., 67 N. Y. 283; State Mutual Insurance Co. v. Green, - Okla. - , L. R. A. 1017F, 663, 166 Pac. 105.