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1. Mr. Schrag stated to the investigating officer that the feeder cattle were sick when purchased. The claimant planned to cure the cattle prior to ultimate sale.
2. On the death of the second animal on July 16, 1963, Dr. C. R. Wilson, a veterinarian, performed an autopsy on it. The autopsy, according to Dr. Wilson, showed the calf died not from aromatic solvents, but from a bacteria-caused pneumonia.3
3. Pneumonia in cattle is contagious and could readily spread through a herd already sick and in a weakened condition.
4. Subsequently, Dr. Wilson treated the herd with antibiotics for pneumonia, this therapy being successful except for the few head that died. At no time did Dr. Wilson treat the herd for poisoning.
5. The smell of the solvents is so disagreeable that animals avoid drinking treated water except under conditions of acute thirst. Since the lateral is only a foot deep adjacent to claimant's premises, the exposure by wading would be very small.
6. Even if the cattle did drink the treated water, medical reports in general indicate these solvents are nontoxic. This is supported by experiments of the Veterinary Science Department at Utah State College which indicated that animals under acute thirst, after consuming a concentration of 800 parts per million, showed no ill effects. It is a reasonable conclusion from this evidence that the cattle, being sick and in a weakened condition, contracted a bacterial pneumonia at some time prior to the use of aromatic solvents in the lateral. This disease being contagious spread throughout the herd. Claimant's allegation that this loss was caused by aromatic solvents rests solely on conjecture and speculation, and is insufficient to establish causation.*
It is therefore our conclusion that the findings of the investigating officer are sound and based on evidence appearing in the record. Accordingly, the claim of Palmer E. Schrag is denied under the Public Works Appropriation Act, 1964.
* Specimens taken from the dead animal were tested for the presence of aromatic solvents by the United States Public Health Testing Center in Wenatchee, Washington. Although no trace of solvent was found, the tests generally were inconclusive.
4 Cambro Co. v. Snook, 43 Wash. 2d 609, 262 P. 2d 767 (1953).
MARY ADELE MONSON
Decided July 14, 1964
Oil and Gas Leases: Applications-Applications and Entries: Generally Any name used by an individual, whether real or fictitious, by which she may be known or by which she may transact business or execute contracts, may constitute her signature if affixed by that individual without fraudulent intent and if there is no doubt as to the identity of the individual, and an oil and gas lease offer in which the signed name of the offeror differs from the typed name of the offeror in the first block of the lease form is acceptable if, in fact, the signature is that of the offeror and the offer is, in all other respects, acceptable.
Oil and Gas Leases: Applications
Where only one copy of an oil and gas lease offer is initially filed bearing as a signature a name which differs from the name of the offeror typed in the first block of the lease form, within 30 days four additional copies of the offer are filed bearing the same typed name and signature as the typed name on the original form, and after more than 30 days from the initial filing five additional copies are filed bearing typed name and signature consistent with the original form, the offer should not be rejected if all of the copies of the offer were signed by the offeror, but the offer will earn priority only from the time that the last copies were filed.
APPEAL FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Mary Adele Monson has appealed to the Secretary of the Interior from a decision dated January 22, 1963, whereby the Division of Appeals, Bureau of Land Management, affirmed a decision of the Utah land office rejecting her noncompetitive oil and gas lease offer for the S2NW4 and the SW4NE1⁄44 sec. 5, T. 27 S., R. 22 E., S.L.M., Utah.
On July 23, 1962, Mrs. Monson filed a single copy of her offer on Form 4-1158. The lease offer was a carbon copy except for the typed name of the offeror at the top of the form and the offeror's signature at the bottom. The word "original" appeared in the upper left corner of the form. The typed name of the offeror was "Mary Adele Monson," but the signature was "Mary Adele Gibbs."
On August 7, 1962, four additional copies of the lease offer, signed by "Mary Adele Monson," were filed in the land office. On September 4, 1962, five more copies of the offer, bearing the signature of "Mary Adele Gibbs," were filed in the land office.
The land office rejected the appellant's offer on August 2, 1962, because the "lease form designated the name 'Mary Adele Monson' as offeror in Block 1, but was signed 'Mary Godbe Gibbs.'" That decision was vacated on August 15, 1962, and on September 27, 1962,
the offer was rejected by the land office because "the offer did not comply with 43 CFR 192.42 (b) and (d).”
In appealing to the Director of the Bureau of land Management from the rejection of her offer, Mrs. Monson submitted an affidavit certifying that Mary Adele Gibbs was her maiden name and that Mary Adele Monson and Mary Adele Gibbs are the same person. She further stated that she signed the original lease offer and the additional copies that were subsequently filed.
The Division of Appeals, in affirming the rejection of the appellant's offer, held that the burden cannot be placed upon the Department to assume or determine that Mary Adele Monson and Mary Adele Gibbs are the same person, and, in view of the variation in the names on the lease offer, the offer did not comply with the requirements of the applicable regulation.
The appellant contends that the Bureau erred in construing the regulation as requiring that the signature must be identical to the typed name of the offeror. She contends that any signature, even the letter "X", would be valid if signed by the offeror with the intent to be bound thereby.
The regulations in effect when the appellant's offer was filed provided in part that:
Five copies of Form 4-1158, or valid reproduction thereof, for each offer to lease shall be filed in the proper land office ***. If less than five copies are filed, the offer will not be rejected, if not otherwise subject to rejection, until 30 days from filing have elapsed and if during that period the remaining required copies are filed, the offeror's priority will date from the date of the first filing. If the additional copies are not filed within the 30-day period, the offer will be rejected and returned and will afford no priority to the offeror. Should the additional copies be filed after the 30-day period but before the offer has been rejected, the offeror will have a priority as of the later filing date. * * * 43 CFR, 1964 rev., 192.42 (b).1
Each offer must be *** signed in ink by the offeror or the offeror's duly authorized attorney in fact or agent. * * 43 CFR, 1964 Supp., 3123.1(d), formerly 43 CFR, 1964 rev., 192.42(d).
The appellant's contention as to the validity of her signature appears to be correct as a general statement of law.
In general, in the absence of statutory prohibition, a person, without abandoning his real name, may adopt or assume any name, wholly or partly different from his own name, by which he may become known, and by which he may transact business, execute contracts, and carry on his affairs, unless he does so in order to defraud others ***. Contracts, obligations, and transactions entered into under an assumed or fictitious name are valid and binding, if unaffected by fraud, and if there is no doubt with respect to the identity of the person acting under the assumed or fictitious name. 65 C.J.S. Names § 9a.
1 The regulation has since been amended to eliminate the 30-day period for filing copies of an oil and gas lease offer. See 43 CFR, 1964 Supp., 3123.1 (b).
July 14, 1964
Thus, the courts have held that: an insurance policy taken by W. E. Canady upon his own life in the name of A. S. Canady, a name under which he did business, was a valid and binding contract with the insurance company (North American Accident Insurance Co. v. Canady, 163 P. 2d 221 (Okla. 1945)); a deed is valid even though a person is designated by his proper name in the body of the deed but signs by a wrong name (Middleton v. Findla, 25 Calif. 76 (1864)); where a witness to a will signed the name of the decedent rather than his own, he had signed his name as witness under the statute (In re Jacob's Will, 132 N.Y. Supp. 481 (1911); contra, In re Walker, 42 Pac. 815 (Calif. 1895) (three judges dissenting)).
The Department's regulations provide only that the offer must be signed in ink by the offeror. In the absence of a specific regulation
to the contrary, there is no basis for departing from the generally accepted standard as to what constitutes a signature. Thus, there appears to be no question as to the acceptability of Mrs. Monson's signature of either her maiden name or her married name on the lease offer if, in fact, she signed the forms as she has certified that she did.3
It does not necessarily follow, however, that copies of a lease offer in which some copies of the lease form bear one signature and some bear another are acceptable as "copies" under the Department's regulations.
Some courts have held that the word "copy" implies that the instrument so labeled is identical with another instrument. In re Janes' Estate, 116 P. 2d 438, 441 (Calif. 1941); Blatz v. Travelers Ins. Co., 68 N.Y.S. 801, 806 (1947). While the Department has not adapted such a rigid interpretation of the word "copy" and has permitted some minor deviations in the copies of oil and gas lease offers and has held that a document may qualify as a copy of a lease offer even though partially illegible (see A. M. Culver, John F. Partridge, Jr., and Duncan Miller, 70 I.D. 484 (1963)), it would seem that a document varying from another in such a substantial matter as the signature cannot be termed a "copy."
There is, however, a further basis which is dispositive of the case for
2 In construing that requirement, the Department has held that the regulation does not require that each of the five required copies be individually signed in ink, but it is sufficient if only one copy was directly signed in ink and the signature was impressed on the other four copies through the use of carbon paper. Duncan Miller, Robert A. Priester, A-28621 etc. (May 10, 1961).
3 It is by no means clear that all of the copies of the lease offer in this case were, in fact, signed by Mrs. Monson. Although she has stated in her affidavit of October 22, 1962, that she signed the original offer and all of the copies subsequently filed, a study of the signature causes serious doubt as to whether the copies filed on August 7, 1962, were signed by the same person who signed the initial offer filed on July 23, 1962, and the copies filed on September 4, 1962. There are marked differences in the handwriting. However, in view of the conclusions to be reached in this decision, it is unnecessary at this time to determine the truthfulness of Mrs. Monson's statement.
finding that the appellant's offer was not entitled to priority from the date of the initial filing. As has been noted above, after filing the four copies signed "Mary Adele Monson" and while the lease offer was still pending in the land office, the appellant filed additional copies signed "Mary Adele Gibbs" in conformity with the original lease offer form. The last filing, apparently, was to correct the discrepancy in the signatures and to cure a possible defect in the offer as it then stood. If the offer was defective by virtue of the variation in signatures in the original and the four copies filed on August 7, 1962, the defect was not cured until more than 30 days had elapsed after the initial filing. Priority was, therefore, to be determined from the date on which the defect was cured. James E. Menor, A-29006 (November 15, 1961); M. J. Stansbury, A-29699 (September 25, 1963). If, on the other hand, the discrepancy in signatures was not a defect in the offer, the copies filed on September 4, 1962, must still be construed as an amendment to the offer since they vary from the copies previously filed in such a manner as to indicate an intent to change a material item of the offer. In such case, priority of the offer will be determined from the date of filing of the amended offer rather than from the initial filing. See Samuel A. Wanner, 67 I.D. 407 (1960). In either event, the priority of the appellant's offer is to be determined from September 4, 1962, rather than from July 23, 1962, the date of the initial filing. Accordingly, I find that the discrepancies in the signature having been corrected prior to action on the offer, did not require the rejection of the offer but that the offer should be considered as a pending offer with priority, at most, from September 4, 1962, until a lease is issued on an offer having higher priority.
Therefore, pursuant to the authority delegated to the Solicitor by the Secretary of the Interior (210 DM 2.2A (4) (a); 24 F.R. 1348), the decision of the Division of Appeals is modified and the case remanded for action consistent with this decision.
ERNEST F. HOм,
As noted above, the appellant's offer was initially rejected by the land office on August 2. 1962. The decision of that date, however, was vacated on August 15, 1962. offer had not been acted upon by the land office when the appellant filed her last set of copies of her lease offer on September 4, 1962.