property. This is a French word, signifying thing. In law,
it is applied to personal property; as choses in possession, are such personal
things of which one has possession; choses in action, are such as the owner
has not the possession, but merely a right of action for their possession.
2 Bl. Com. 889, 397; 1 Chit. Pract. 99; 1 Supp. to Ves. Jr. 26, 59. Chitty
defines choses in actions to be rights to receive or recover a debt, or
money, or damages for breach of contract, or for a tort connected with contract,
but which cannot be enforced without action, and therefore termed choses,
or things in action. Com. Dig. Biens; Harr. Dig. Chose in ActionChitty"s
Eq. Dig. b. t. Vide 1 Ch. Pr. 140.
2. It is one of the qualities of a chose in action, that, at common law,
it is not assignable. 2 John. 1; 15 Mass. 388; 1 Crancb, 367. But bills
of exchange and promissory notes, though choses in action, may be assigned
by indorsement, when payable to order, or by delivery when payable to bearer.
See Bills of Exchange.
3. Bonds are assignable in Pennsylvania, and perhaps some other states,
by virtue of statutory provisions.Inequity, however, all choses in action
are assignable and the assignee has an equitable right to enforce the fulfilment
of the obligation in the name of the assignor. 4 Mass. 511; 3 Day. 364;
1 Wheat. 236; 6 Pick. 316 9 ow. 34; 10 Mass. 316; 11 Mass. 157, n. 9 S.
& R. 2441; 3 Yeates, 327; 1 Binn. 429; 5 Stew. & Port. 60; 4 Rand. 266;
7 Conn. 399; 2 Green, 510; Harp. 17; Vide, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index,
4. Rights arising ex delicto are not assignable either at law or in equity.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition
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