Bradford v. Williams - 45 U.S. 576 (1846)
U.S. Supreme Court
Bradford v. Williams, 45 U.S. 4 How. 576 576 (1846)
Bradford v. Williams
45 U.S. (4 How.) 576
By a statute of Florida, where suit is brought upon a bond, the plaintiff need not prove its execution unless the defendant denies it under oath. It also provides that such an instrument may be assigned; that the assignee becomes vested with all the rights of the assignor, and may bring suit in his own name.
Under this statute, where a joint and several bond was signed by three obligors and made payable to three obligees, one of whom was also one of the obligors, and the obligees assigned the bond, the fact that one of the obligors was also an obligee was no valid defense in a suit brought by the assignee against the two other obligors.
The inability of one of the obligees to sue himself did not impair the vitality of the bond, but amounted only to an objection to a recovery in a court of law. The assignment, and ability of the assignee to sue in his own name, removed this difficulty.
The statute of Florida places bonds, as far as respects negotiability and the right of the assignee to sue to his own name, upon the same footing as bills of exchange and promissory notes. The case therefore falls within the principle of a partner drawing a bill upon his house, or making a note in the name of the firm, payable to his own order, both of which are valid in the hands of a bona fide holder.
These were kindred cases, argued and decided together. Bradford and Judge were obligors upon the same bonds, although sued separately, and the same questions were common to both cases.
They came up, by writ of error, from the Court of Appeals for the Territory of Florida.
The case was this.
The defendant in error brought an action of debt in the Superior Court in the Middle District of Florida against the plaintiff in error, and declared upon four bonds, amounting in the aggregate to the sum of $4,854.28, made by the defendant below, William P. Craig, and Ed. Bradford, by which they bound themselves jointly and severally to pay that sum to William B. Nuttall, Hector W. Braden, and William P. Craig, or to their order, setting out the assignment of said bonds, in due and proper form, by the obligees to the plaintiff in the suit.
The defendant, by his attorney, craved oyer of the bonds, and, after setting out the same, pleaded
"That William P. Craig, one of the obligors mentioned, was and is the same identical person named William P. Craig as one of the obligees in the said bonds who, together with the others, had endorsed the bonds to the plaintiff, and that the same was therefore null and void at law, and not the deed of the defendant,"
concluding with a verification.
To which the plaintiff demurred, and the defendant joined in the demurrer.
The court gave judgment for the plaintiff on the demurrer, which judgment was affirmed by the court of appeals, upon which this writ of error was brought.
The record not having been filed in time, the cases had been docketed and dismissed under the forty-third rule of court, on motion of the defendant in error. Afterwards, a motion was made by Mr. Westcott to reinstate them, which was argued by Mr. Westcott and opposed by Mr. Thompson; upon which motion.