Leftwitch v. Lecanu
A STATUTE of Louisiana [*] enacts 'that notaries shall keep a book, in which they shall transcribe all the protests by them made, with mention made of the notices which they shall have given to drawers and indorsers, &c.; which declaration, duly recorded under the signature of the notary public and two witnesses, shall be received as a legal proof of the notices.'
With this statute in force, Lecanu sued Leftwitch and others in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Louisiana, as indorsers of a promissory note. The suit was in the form usual in Louisiana, that is to say, by petition, and the plea was a general denial.
On the trial before a jury, the counsel for the plaintiff below offered in evidence an instrument in writing on the back of the protest, and purporting to be a certificate of the notary, that he had notified the indorsers of the note, which is contained in the record.
The certificate, although it stated in the body of it that it was signed by two persons, Janin and Lenes, the 'two witnesses,' had not their signatures to it.
The counsel for the defendants objected to reading the instrument, on the ground that the certificate was not in conformity with the laws of Louisiana, and, consequently, that it did not prove the notice. The court overruled the objection, and the plaintiff excepted.
The bill of exceptions stated that 'plaintiff offered in evidence an instrument in writing on the back of the protest, purporting to be a certificate of the notary, that he had notified the indorsee to this note, which is hereunto annexed for reference as a part of this bill, to which certificate counsel for defendant objected,' &c. No such paper was, however, found attached to the bill of exceptions, nor in any manner referred to, or marked, or identified as being a part of it, or as the paper which was offered in evidence.
Mr. Gillet, for the plaintiff in error. Mr. Carlisle, contra.
Mr. Justice MILLER delivered the opinion of the court.
^* Stat. of 1855, p. 48, § 7.