Bank of Pittsburgh v. Neal (1859)
In Bank of Pittsburgh v. Neal (1859), 63 U.S. 96, Justice Clifford, speaking for the Supreme Court of the United States said, as follows:
"The bills must be viewed precisely as they would be if they had been perfected and filled up by the defendants, and for two reasons, deducible from the decisions of this court:
"First. Because, where a party to a negotiable instrument intrusts it to the custody of another with blanks not filled up, whether it be for the purpose to accommodate the person to whom it was intrusted, or to be used for his own benefit, such negotiable instrument carries on its face an implied authority to fill up the blanks and perfect the instrument; and as between such party and innocent third parties, the person to whom it was so intrusted must be deemed the agent of the party who committed such instrument to his custody - or, in other words, it is the act of the principal, and he is bound by it. (Goodman v. Simonds, 61 U.S. 343 (1857); Violett v. Patton, 9 U.S. 142 (1809).)
"Secondly. Because a bona fide holder of a negotiable instrument, for a valuable consideration, without notice of the facts which impeach its validity between the antecedent parties, if he takes it under an endorsement made before the same becomes due, holds the title unaffected by these facts, and may recover thereon, although, as between the antecedent parties, the transaction may be without any legal validity.
"In view of all the facts as disclosed in the pleadings, we think the case clearly falls within the operation of the rule generally applicable in cases of agency, that where one of two innocent parties must suffer, through the fraud or negligence of a third party, the loss shall fall upon him who gave the credit. )Fitzherbert v. Mathen, 1 Term., 16, per Buller; Androscoggin Bank v. Kimball, 10 Cush. Mass. 373; Montague v. Perkins, 22 Eng.L. and Eq., 516.)
"Business men who place their signatures to blanks, suitable for negotiable bills of exchange or promissory notes, and intrust them to their correspondents, to raise money at their discretion, ought to understand the operation and effect of this rule, and not to expect that courts of justice will fail in such cases to give it due application."