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.
An executory contract may be discharged by a new contract which is entered into for that purpose between the parties thereto.1 A provision in a written contract that no one can change its provisions, is inoperative as against a subsequent modification to which the parties assent.2 This form of discharge is sometimes spoken of as "discharge"3 as though it were the technical form of discharge. It is sometimes spoken of as rescission,4 although the term "rescission" is also used in a number of other meanings, such as avoidance of a contract by one who has been induced to enter into it under fraud and the like,5 or by one who has entered into it under some disability, such as infancy or insanity;6 and it is also used of the act of equity in rendering a formal decree terminating the effect of the contract either for fraud and the like or for incapacity or in some cases some certain types of breach.
Arkansas. Bozeman v. State Bank, 7 Ark. 328, 46 Am. Dec. 291.
Illinois. Chicago v. Babcock, 143 111. 358, 32 N. E. 271.
Massachusetts. Goodnow v. Smith, 35 Mass. (18 Pick.) 414. 20 Am. Dec. 600; O'Neil v. National Oil Co., 20 Mass. 231, 120 N. E. 107.
Mississippi. Bogdahn v. Pascagoula St. Ry. & Power Co., 118 Miss. 668, 79 So. 844.
New Jersey. Bowne v. Mt. Holly National Bank, 45 N. J. L. 360.
Oklahoma. Lisle v. Anderson, - Okla. - , 159 Pac. 278.
Vermont. Spencer v. Williams, 2 Vt. 209, 19 Am. Dec. 711.
A "covenant not to sue" a joint wrongdoer, reserving a right of action against the other joint wrongdoer, has been treated as a release of both. Clark v. Union Electric Light & Power Co., - Mo. - , 213 S. W. 851.
The release or discharge of a joint wrongdoer is held not to discharge the other. Adams Express Co. v. Beckwith, - O. S. - , 17 O. L. R. 379 [overruling, Ellis v. Bitzer, 2 Ohio, 89].
13 O'Neil v. National Oil Co., 231 Mass. 20, 120 N. E. 107; Bogdahn v. Pascagoula St. Ry. & Power Co., 118 Miss. 668, 79 So. 844.
14 Pitch v. Forman, 14 Johns. (N. Y.)
172; Weakly v. Hall, 13 Ohio 167, 42 Am. Dec. 194.
See Sec. 2081 for a discussion of this rule.
1 United States. Smith v. Salt Lake City, 83 Fed. 784; Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co. v. Binghamton Ry. Co., 255 Fed. 378.
Alabama. Mylin v. King, 139 Ala. 319, 35 So. 998; Mobile Electric Co. v. Mobile, - Ala. - , 79 So. 39.
Arkansas. Grider v. Three States Lumber Co., 72 Ark. 190, 79 S. W. 763; Nothwang v. Harrison, 126 Ark. 548, 191 S. W. 2.
California. Stewart, etc., Co. v. Krambs, 139 Cal. 318, 73 Pac. 854; Youngberg v. South End Warehouse Co., 177 Cal. 504, 171 Pac. 97.
Illinois. Chicago, etc., Ry. v. Moran, 187 111. 316, 58 N. E. 335; Hutchinson v. Coonley, 209 UK 437, 70 N. E. 686; Hills v. McMunn, 232 111. 488, 83 N. E. 963.
Iowa. Smith v. Trust Co., 97 Ia. 117, 66 N. W. 84; Iowa-Minnesota Land Co. v. Conner, 136 Ia. 674, 112 N. W. 820.
Kentucky. John King Co. v. Louis-vile & N. R. Co., 131 Ky. 46, 114 S. W. 308 [rehearing denied, 116 S. W. 1201].
Louisiana. Brunswig v. Chemical Co., 110 La. 214, 34 So. 417.
Maryland. Linz v. Schuck, 106 Md. 220, 124 Am. St. Rep. 481, 11 L. R. A. (N.S.) 789, 67 Atl. 286.
Massachusetts. Sherman v. Buffin-ton, 228 Mass. 139, 117 N. E. 33.
Michigan. Grand Traverse Fruit & Produce Exchange v. Thomas Canning Co., 200 Mich. 95, 166 N. W. 878.
Minnesota. Youngberg v. Lamber-ton, 91 Minn. 100, 97 N. W. 571.
Nebraska. Herpolsheimer v. Christopher, 76 Neb. 352, 107 N. W. 382.
New Jersey. Morecraft v. Allen, 78 N. J. L. 729, L. R. A. 1915B, 1, 75 Atl. 920.
New York. McCreery v. Day, 11© N. Y. 1, 16 Am. St. Rep. 793, 6 L. R. A. 503. 23 N. E. 198.
North Carolina. Burns v. McFar-hrad, 146 N. Car. 382, 59 S. E. 1011.
Oklahoma. Hart v. Frost, - Okla. - , 175 Pac. 257.
Oregon. Good v. Smith, 44 Or. 678, 76 Pac. 354; Carnahan Mfg. Co. v. Beebe-Bowles Co., 91 Or. 302, 178 Pac. 233.
Pennsylvania. Flegel v. Hoover. 166 Pa. St. 276, 27 Atl. 162; Murphy v. Bank. 184 Pa. St. 208, 39 Atl. 143; Robert Grace Contracting Co. v. Norfolk & W. Ry. Co., 259 Pa. St. 241, 102 Atl. 956.
Vermont. Davenport v. Crowell, 79 Vt. 419. 65 Atl. 557.
Washington. Farley v. Letterman, 87 Wash 641, 152 Pac. 515 (obiter).
West Virginia. Marsh v. Despard, 56 W. Va. 132, 49 S. E. 24.
Wisconsin. Fitzgerald v. Walsh, 107 Wis. 92. 81 Am. St. Rep. 824, 82 N. W. 717.
On this subject, see Rescission by Parol Agreement, by Samuel Willis-ton, 4 Columbia Law Review, 455; Waiver in Insurance Cases, by John S. Ewart, 18 Harvard Law Review, 364; Waiver or Election, by John S. Ewart, 29 Harvard Law Review, 724; Parol Waiver Under the New York Fire Policy, by George Richards, 12 Columbia Law Review, 134; Election in Insurance Cases, by John S. Ewart, 12 Columbia Law Review, 619; Election in Insurance Cases, by George Richards, 13 Columbia Law Review, 51; The Extension of the Right of Waiver, by F. Granville Munson, 14 Columbia Law Review, 571 and The Doctrine of Waiver, by Colin P. Campbell, 3 Michigan Law Review, 9.
2 Peterson v. Reaping Machine Co., 97 Ia. 148, 59 Am. St. Rep. 399, 66 N. W. 96.
3 King v. Gillett, 7 M. & W. 55.
4 Davenport v. Crowell, 79 Vt. 419, 65 Atl. 567.
5 See Sec. 341 et seq., 372 et seq., 477 and 604.
6 See ch. XLV et seq.
The problems of the formation, validity, effect and operation of the new contract which modifies or discharges the original contract, are, in general, the same as those which arise in the case of any contract. At the same time there are a number of special applications of the general principles of contract law with reference to the assent of the parties to the new contract. The fact that there is in existence some form of contractual liability between the parties, and that one of the parties to the contract either gives up part of his rights, or forbears to act, in reliance upon the promise of the adversary party, causes special applications of the general rules of consideration. The form of the original contract operates in some cases as a restriction upon the power of the parties to modify or discharge the original contract by a contract of a rank, as to form, lower than that of the original contract. The fact that one con tractual obligation is superimposed upon another, results in a special application of the ordinary rules of construction for the purpose of determining the intention of the parties as ascertained from the two instruments taken together. For these reasons a dis cussion of these special applications of the general principles of contract law is necessary in the case of new contracts.
Other questions, such as capacity of the parties, assignment, and the like, present no special questions with reference to new contracts different from those which are presented with reference to contracts generally, and need no further discussion in this connection.