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U.S. Supreme Court

National Surety Co. v. Architectural Decorating Co., 226 U.S. 276 (1912)

National Surety Co. v. Architectural Decorating Company

No. 425

Submitted October 28, 1912

Decided December 2, 1912

226 U.S. 276


While, in a general sense, the laws in force at the time the contract is made enter into its obligation, the parties have no vested rights in the particular remedies or modes of procedure then existing. Water Works Co. v. Oshkosh, 187 U. S. 437.

There is a broad distinction between laws impairing the obligation of contracts and those which simply undertake to give a more efficient remedy to enforce a contract already made. Bernheimer v. Converse, 206 U. S. 516.

Where, as the state court has held in this case, the requirement that a preliminary notice that a third party intends to avail of the benefit of a bond given for performance of a contract is a condition precedent to an action on the bond, legislation altering the period within which such notice must be given affects the remedy, and not the contract itself, and does not amount to an impairment of the obligation of the bond within the contract clause of the federal Constitution.

Chapter 413 of the General Laws of Minnesota of 1909, extending the time within which third parties intending to avail of the benefit of a bond given for completion of public buildings must serve notice of intention so to do, effected merely a change in remedy without substantial modification of the obligation of the contract, and is not an unconstitutional impairment thereof.

115 Minn. 382 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Minnesota relating to enforcement of claims under building bonds, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 226 U. S. 278

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