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An "accord" is an agreement whereby one of the parties undertakes to give or perform, and the other to accept, in satisfaction of a claim, liquidated or in dispute, something other than or different from what he is, or considers himself, entitled to; and a "satisfaction" is the execution, or performance, of such an agreement. When an accord is performed or executed, there is an accord and satisfaction and, from the standpoint of consideration, the transaction is fait accompli. An accord and satisfaction extinguishes, discharges, and supersedes the original demand and bars or prevents any action or proceeding thereon.
The decedent, Sidney Burns, gave his first wife three mortgages to settle the community formerly existing between them. The executor included the notes in his account, but the widow argued that the first wife had accepted property in full satisfaction of her claim and had absolved the decedent of any further liability with respect to the claim to the community. The first wife and the executor claimed that the decedent had a moral obligation to pay the rest of the debt. The lower court denied the widow relief from the mortgages. The widow appealed the decision.
Did the decedent have the moral obligation to pay the rest of the debt to the first wife, thereby warranting the dismissal of the oppositions filed by the widow of the decedent?
The court reversed the decision of the lower court, holding that the decedent had obtained a valid release from his first wife that extinguished the debt. The court rejected the argument that a moral obligation to pay the debt remained. When an accord of the debt was executed, regardless of the fact that the amount paid was less than the amount originally claimed, the original claim was extinguished and any further action on the original claim was barred. The court found that the balance claimed by the first wife was not enforceable and that the mortgages had to be disallowed.