Supporting, Informing & Connecting People in Foreclosure
§ 913 By loss or destruction of instrument [11 Am Jur 2d BILLS AND NOTES]
If the holder of an instrument intentionally destroys it he thereby forgives and discharges the debt and he may not maintain an action based upon the instrument. The instrument is discharged by cancellation and it is immaterial that there is no consideration and a gift is involved and that there is no written renunciation of rights or delivery of the instrument. District of Columbia v Cornell, 130 US 655, 32 L ed 1041, 9 S Ct 694; State Street Trust Co. v Muskogee Electric Traction Co. (CA10 Okla) 204 F2d 920; Darland v Taylor, 52 Iowa 503, 3 NW 510; Norton v Smith, 130 Me 58, 153 A 886; McDonald v Loomis, 233 Mich 174, 206 NW 348; Wilkins v Skoglund, 127 Neb 589, 256 NW 31; Vanauken v Hornbeck, 14 NJL 178; Henson v Henson, 151 Tenn 137, 268 SW 378, 37 ALR 1131. It has been said that there can be no higher evidence than this of an intention to discharge and cancel the debt created or represented by the instrument destroyed. State Street Trust Co. v Muskogee Electric Traction Co. (CA10 Okla) 204 F2d 920; Larkin v Hardenbrook, 90 NY 333.
The purpose or intent of the holder beyond the intent to destroy his evidence of indebtedness is immaterial. State Street Trust Co. v Muskogee Electric Traction Co. (CA10 Okla) 204 F2d 920 (applying Oklahoma law).
Thus, the intentional destruction of negotiable instruments by the holder, believing them to be valueless, works a cancellation and discharge of the debt evidenced thereby. State Street Trust Co. v Muskogee Electric Traction Co., supra.
The destruction of a promissory note by a third person by command of the payee or holder is equivalent to its destruction by his own act. Henson v Henson, 151 Tenn 137, 268 SW 378, 37 ALR 1131.
But a mere intent to destroy the instrument or unfulfilled instructions to another to do so are ineffectual to discharge the obligation. Re Campbell, 7 Pa 100.
A statute providing that a lost instrument may be supplied by an affidavit stating that such instrument has been unintentionally lost or mislaid and is still the property of the person claiming it, unpaid and unsatisfied, has no application to an instrument which has been intentionally destroyed. Henson v Henson, 151 Tenn 137, 268 SW 378, 37 ALR 1131.