Misnomers, may be considered with regard to contracts, to devises and bequests, and to suits or actions.In general, when the party can be ascertained, a mistake in the name will not avoid the contract. Nihil facit error nominis, cum de corpori constat, is the rule of the civil law.
Misnomers of legatees will not in general avoid the legacy, when tho person intended can be ascertained from the context. Example: Thomas Stockdale bequeathed "to his nephew Thomas Stockdale, second son of his brother John Stockdale," but, John had no son named Thomas, his second son was named William, and he claimed the legacy. It was determined, in his favor, because the mistake of the name was obviated by the correct description given of the person, namely, the second son of John Stockdale.Misnomers in suits or actions, when the mistake is in the name of one of the parties, must be pleaded in abatement for the misnomer of one of the parties sued is not material on the general issue, when the identity is proved. The names of third persons must, be correctly laid, for the error will not be helped by pleading the general issue; but, if a sufficient description be given, it has been held, in a civil case, that the misnomer was immaterial. Example: in an action for medicines alleged to have been furnished to defendant's wife, Mary, and his wife was named Elizabeth, the misnomer was held to be immaterial, the word wife being the material word. In indictments, the names of third persons must be correctly given.
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