due on January 12, 1939, the date of default, according to the automatic acceleration clause contained therein. We do not understand these facts and conclusions to be seriously disputed except the execution of the note.
The only substantial question on the merits, then, is whether a defense arises from the facts that at the time of the alleged execution of the note neither of the makers could read English and neither intended to sign a promissory note.
The note apparently had been attached to the Completion Certificate, or some other paper, not in evidence, by perforated line. It is the usual form of a note. The amount promised was plainly written in figures and in writing; outstanding at the top center in capital letters were the words 'Promissory Note'; at the lower left corner were the words in capital letters 'Negotiable and payable at the office of Equipment Acceptance Corporation, New York, Chicago, or San Francisco with exchange.'
These facts raise the question whether the defendants are brought within the Doctrine of Thoroughgood's Case, 2 Co. Rep. f. 9 (1575), which is the law of Pennsylvania. Rambo Building & Loan Association v. Dragone, 1933, 311 Pa. 422, 166 A. 888; County of Schuylkill v. Copley, 1871, 67 Pa. 386. The principle enunciated therein is that where a party to a writing of any kind is unable to read and understand the terms of the writing so that he is aware of its actual contents, he is under a duty to have one who does understand it read and explain it to him; if he does not he is bound by his signature; but if he does, and any person, whether a stranger to the transaction or not, misrepresents the contents to him so that he is unaware of the nature of the writing which he is signing, his signature thereto is not binding upon him and the instrument is void for non est factum.
Although the facts here indicate that at the time the defendants signed the note in litigation, they were unable to read the English language, there was not a modicum of evidence to indicate that Fried himself actually knew of this inability nor is there any evidence that he, or any other person, misrepresented the contents of the instrument and the nature thereof to these unlettered people. It therefore follows that the defendants are not within the protection of the Doctrine of Thoroughgood's Case. And if this be the law between the Feolas and Fried, it is, a fortiori, the law between the Feolas and one with the rights of a holder in due course.
The plaintiff sustained its burden of proof, by means of a handwriting expert, that the defendant and her husband signed the note in question. The defense failed to sustain its burden of proof that the note was obtained by some type of forgery. It is clear that the makers, on or about November 1, 1938, had purchased from Albert Fried a certain type furnace for $ 526.58 and had executed a contract of purchase as well as a credit statement with him. But the fact that the unit purchased was not the type ordered, nor satisfactory, nor as represented by Fried, cannot bar the recovery of a holder in due course on a note executed as payment therefor. If the defendants signed a writing without first requiring its contents to be disclosed to them, they are bound by their signatures thereto. For a party who signs a writing without knowledge of its contents is guilty of such a degree of negligence which can be relieved only by a showing of fraud or something akin thereto.
Allowance of $ 480.29 as principal would, in fact, include $ 14.03 default interest; the judgment for the principal can only be to the extent of the actual principal or $ 466.26, since to do otherwise would be an allowance of some compound interest.
Therefore, plaintiff is entitled to recover $ 466.26, with interest from January 12, 1939. An appropriate order will be entered.