The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919. Page: 3
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WALKER' V. ARKANSAS NAT. BANK
Before SANBORN'aidSTONE, Circuit 'Judges, and TRIEBER,
District Judge. ,
TRIEBER, District Judge (after stating the facts as above). [1, 2]
As the cause of action is based on a promissory note, executed and
payable in the state of Arkansas, the laws of' that state control. What
the law of that state was prior to the enactment of'Act of ,March 19,
1915 (Acts 1915, p. 684), and what it is since the enactment of that act,
is stated in the late decision of the Supreme Court of that state in
Holland v. Bond, 125 Ark. 526, 189 S. W. 165, as follows:
"Prior to the passage of this act a married woman would not be liable as
surety on a promissory note for her husband because contracts could only be
made by a married woman in reference to her separate property or business.
[Citing authorities.] But the act of 1915, just referred to, has removed that
restriction, and in the broadest terms enables a married woman to sue and
be sued, to contract and be contracted with, and in law and equity to enjoy all
rights and be subjected to all the laws 'of this state as though she were a feme
sole. * * * This construction also results from, the reasoning of the
court in Fitzpatrick v. Owens, 124 Ark. 167, 186 S W. 832 [187 S, W. 460, L.
R. A. 1917B, 774, Ann. Cas. 10180, 772], where we held that the statute
meant to give the wife the right to maintain an action against her husband
either upon contract or for tort."
Applying this rule to the instant case, the note sued on having been
executed by the defendant after the act of 1915 had gone into effect,
she is prima facie liable.
[3-5] But it is urged that, as this note is but a renewal of former
notes, executed while, under the laws of the state of Arkansas, a mar-
ried woman could not be held liable on a contract of suretyship on a
promissory note,' she is not liable on a renewal note executed afttr
her disabilities had been removed, as the validity of the note must be
determined by the law in force ,at the time the original contract was
An examination of the authorities relied on on behalf of the plain-
tiff in error fails to sustain this contention. What they hold is the
well-established rule that, a contract absolutely void for illegality, ei-
ther prohibited by statute, or malum in se, or being against public
policy, will not be validated by a renewal note. But there never was
a statute of the state prohibiting a married woman to become a surety,
nor is such an act nialum in se or against public policy, and therefore
her contract is not absolutely void, but merely voidable, although
courts frequently use the word "void" in speaking of such a contract
when meaning "voidable." Ramsey v. Crevlin, 254 Fed. 813, - C.
C. A. -, decided by this court December 4, 1918, and authorities there
It is the settled law of Arkansas that a married woman may mort-
gage her separate estate, as surety for her husband, without any con-
sideration passing to her. The consideration to her husband will sup-
port her mortgage. Collins v. Wassell, 34 Ark. 17; Scott v. Ward,
35-Ark. 480; Petty v. Grisard, 45 Ark. 117; .Goldsmith v. Lewine, 70
Ark. 516, 69 S. W. 308; Johnson v. Graham.Bros., 98 Ark. 274, 135
S. W. 853; Harper v. McGoogan, 107 Ark, 10, 154 S.' W. 187.
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 256: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, May-July, 1919., legislative document, 1919; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38827/m1/17/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.