Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 1.djvu/36

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Co.[1] The plaintiff in that case purchased a ticket over the railroad of the defendant company from a “ticket-scalper” in New York. A Pennsylvania statute forbids holders of railroad tickets to sell them. The defendant refused to carry the plaintiff, and he brought an action of contract in Pennsylvania. It was objected, that he was attempting to enforce the contract of the scalper, and that the scalper had no right to sell. The court, however, gave judgment for the plaintiff. In the course of his opinion Trunkey, J., said, “It [the contract] is purposely made so as to entitle the bona fide holder to performance, and for breach to an action in his own name. . . . It is true, as claimed by the defendant [in error, i. e., Sleeper], this action is to enforce not the contract between the ticket-scalper and the plaintiff in error, but between the defendant in error and the plaintiff in error. . . . As the plaintiff has a valid title to the ticket the contract between the defendant and himself is valid.”

A transaction of this nature is not the assignment of a right; in that case the assignee claims through the assignor, even where (by statute) he may sue in his own name. But it is a true transfer, like that of a promissory note by endorsement; all the right that was formerly in the transferrer has left him and gone to the transferee, who claims in his own right.

The question whether a ticket is negotiable raises a much more difficult question; but, on the whole, there seems no reason for making a distinction in this respect between tickets and promissory notes. The custom certainly is to take tickets without any inquiry as to the title of the prior holder; and such a custom is favorable to the purposes of trade. It is certain that railroads taking tickets from passengers must be protected; and there is no reason for making any distinction between the maker of a ticket and the holder of it. It may be remembered that in the early days of the late war, when small change was scarce, horse-car tickets passed readily from hand to hand as currency; and postage-stamps served the same purpose. It is evident that at that time those tickets were regarded as negotiable. It is probably the general understanding now that tickets are negotiable.

Such is the weight of authority. With regard to lottery tickets it is well established that they are negotiable. In most of the cases they are compared to bank-notes payable to bearer. The leading

  1. 100 Pa. St. 259.