Guthrie v. National Homes Corp – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Guthrie v. National Homes Corp., 394 S.W.2d 494 (Tex. 1965), the Supreme Court of Texas considered a similar case, in which the instrument in question stated that the obligor would pay "$5,780.00," which was written out as "Five Thousand Eighty and 00/100 Dollars." Guthrie, 394 S.W.2d at 495.

The Court held that the words "Five Thousand Eighty and 00/100 Dollars" were unambiguous and controlled the numerals. Id. at 495-96.

A jury had returned a verdict that, because $5,000 had been paid on the note, the obligor still owed $780. Id. at 494.

In light of the unambiguous written words of the instrument, however, there was no fact issue regarding the original amount of the loan for the jury to consider, and the Court reduced the award to $80 to match the words of the instrument. Id. at 496.

The Court recognized that the rule favoring words over numerals already applied to negotiable instruments such as promissory notes and held that the same rule applies to non-negotiable instruments. Id. at 495-96.