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 construing the release, the courts frequently repeat the general formula that the intention of the parties as determined by the ordinary rules of construction, is to be ascertained, and when ascertained, it is to control.1 Provisions of a release "are not to be shorn of their efficiency by any narrow, technical and close construetion."2 As will be seen later,3 the repetition of this formula does not prevent the courts from ignoring the intention of the parties when they attempt to grant a release to one of two joint debtors, reserving intact the rights of the creditor against the other joint debtor..
1See Sec. 1156 et seq. 2 See Sec. 1157 et seq. 3 See Sec. 1163.
4 See Sec. 1160. 5See Sec. 1166.
6 See Sec. 2457 et seq.
7 See Sec. 2497 et seq.
8 See Sec. 2501 et seq.
9 See Sec. 2525 et seq.
10 See ch. V.
11 Bensen v. Reger, - Ia. - , 168 N W. 881. See Sec. 2461 et seq.
12 See ch. XX et seq.
13 See ch. XLV et seq.
The release is to be construed as a whole.4 The words of the release are not to be extended as against the releasor.5 If a dispute has arisen with reference to the amount of commission for selling certain property, a release in consideration of a certain sum, which provides that the broker has "no claim whatsoever," is to be construed as applying only to his claim for commissions for the sale of such property, and it does not operate as a release of a claim of commissions for the sale of other property.6 A release of claims for work done under a contract, is not to be extended to a claim for damages for the breach of the contract.7 The words of a release are to be limited by the express consideration mentioned for such release.8