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Ambiguity

mass, instrument, ed and uncertainty

AMBIGUITY. Duplicity, indistinctness or uncertainty of meaning of an expression used in a written instrument.

The word "uncertainty" in a suit refers to the uncertainty defined in pleading and does not include ambiguity ; Kraner v. Halsey, 82 Cal. 209, 22 Pac. 1137.

Latent is that which arises from some col lateral circumstance or extrinsic matter in cases where the instrument itself is suffi ciently certain and intelligible. Inhabitants of Jay v. Inhabitants of East Livermore, 56 Me. 107; Tilton v. Bible Society, 60 N. H. 377, 49 Am. Rep. 321; Simpson v. Dix, 131 Mass. 179; Clark v. Woodruff, 83 N. Y. 518.

Patent is that which appears on the face of the instrument; that which occurs when the expression of an instrument is so defec tive that a court which is obliged to place a construction upon it, cannot, placing itself in the situation of the parties, ascertain therefrom the parties' intention. Williams v. Hichborn, 4 Mass. 205 ; U. S. v. Cantril, 4 Cra. (U, S.) 167, 2 L. Ed. 584; 1 Greenl. Ev. § 292 ; Ans. Contr. 248; Peisch v. Dick son, 1 Mas. 9, Fed. Cas. No. 10,911; Cham bers v. Ringstaff, 69 Ala. 140; Palmer v. Albee, 50 Ia. 429; Nashville Life Ins. Co. v. Mathews, 8 Lea (Tenn.) 499.

The term does not include mere inaccu racy, or such uncertainty as arises from the use of peculiar words, or of common words in a peculiar sense; Wigr. Wills 174 ; 3 Sim.

24 ; 3 M. & G. 452; Brown v. Brown, 8 Metc. (Mass.) 576; Farmers' & Mechanics' Bank v. Day, 13 Vt. 36; see Fish v. Hubbard's Admr's, 21 Wend. (N. Y.) 651; 8 Bing. 244 ; and intends such expressions as would be found of uncertain meaning by persons of competent skill and information ; 1, Greenl. Ev. § 298.

Latent ambiguities are subjects for the consideration of a jury, and may be explain ed by parol evidence ; 1 Green]. Ey. § 301; and see Wigr. Wills 48; 5 Ad. & E. 302; 3 B. & Ad. 728 ; Brown v. Brown, 8 Metc. (Mass.) 576; Astor v. Ins. Co., 7 Cow. (N. Y.) 202; Peisch v. Dickson, 1 Mas. 9, Fed. Cas. No. 10,911. Patent ambiguity cannot be explained by parol evidence, and renders the instrument as far as it extends inoperative; Williams v. Hichborn, 4 Mass. 205 ; New Jersey v. Wilson, 7 Cra. (U. S.) 167, 3 L. Ed. 303 ; Jarm. Wills (6th Am. Ed.) *400. See Neal v. Reams, 88 Ga. 298, 14 S. E. 617; Whaley v. Neill, 44 Mo. App. 320; Horner v. Stillwell, 35 N. J. L. 307; Hollen v. Davis, 59 Ia. 44-4, 13 N. W. 413, 44 Am. Rep. 688; Pickering v. Pickering, 50 N. H. 349 ; Hyatt v. Pugsley, 23 Barb. (N. Y.) 285; Crooks v. Whitford, 47 Mich. 283, 11 N. W. 159 ; Mar shall v. Gridley, 46 Ill. 247.

See LATENT AMBIGUITY; PATENT AMBIG• UITY.