Friday, January 27, 2006
On this date, January 27, 1872, Billings Learned Hand, future judge of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, is born at Albany, New York. He's probably best known in contract law circles of his articulation of the Twenty Bishops rule:
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 on them, he would still be held, unless there were mutual mistake, or something else of the sort.
Hotchkiss v. National City Bank, 200 F. 287, 293 (S.D.N.Y.1911), aff'd, 201 F. 664 (2d Cir.1912), aff'd, 231 U.S. 50, 34 S.Ct. 20, 58 L.Ed. 115 (1913).