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Contracts

8.2.2.1 Hotchkiss v. National City Bank of New York

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HOTCHKISS v. NATIONAL CITY BANK OF NEW YORK, 200 F. 287, 293 (S.D.N.Y. 1911), aff’d, 201 F. 664 (2d Cir. 1912), 231 U.S. 50 (1913). LEARNED HAND, J.: "A contract has, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the personal, or individual, intent of the parties. A contract is an obligation attached by the mere force of law to certain acts of the parties, usually words, which ordinarily accompany and represent a known intent. If, however, it were proved by twenty bishops that either party, when he used the words, intended something else than the usual meaning which the law imposes upon them, he would still be held, unless there were some mutual mistake, or something else of the sort. Of course, if it appear by other words, or acts, of the parties, that they attribute a peculiar meaning to such words as they use in the contract, that meaning will prevail, but only by virtue of the other words, and not because of their unexpressed intent."