In many of the cases involving assignments of money not yet due, the analogy is suggested of contracts to sell chattel property which the grantor has not yet acquired.79 The analogy between choses in action and chattels is, however, not so perfect as seems to be assumed by the decisions. The legal title to existing chattels can be presently transferred, but the legal title to chattels subsequently to be acquired cannot be transferred without further action of the parties. This rule is what gives the court of equity its opportunity. Apart from statute, however, a complete legal title even in existing choses in action cannot be transferred.80 The practical effect of assignment of such property is produced whether the parties so state or not, by the legal authority or power of attorney which the owner of the claim gives to the assignee to collect it and keep the proceeds, and what may be called an equitable ownership as hereafter defined. The same kind of effect can easily be given if desirable to an assignment of a future claim. It is possible to assign a claim the performance of which is not yet due, and apart from considerations of public policy there seems no limit to this principle. An agent may be appointed to collect all money which shall be due in the future, not only under existing contracts but under future contracts, as readily as to collect what is due at the present time. There is no doubt that agents may be and frequently are appointed with power to deal in matters of interest to the principal's business which have not yet arisen. There seems also no technical difficulty in a covenant on the part of the principal in such a case not to revoke the power given to the agent and to allow the latter to keep for his own benefit what may be collected under the power. The only question is how far courts will give the protection to such powers and covenants which has been given to assignments of existing choses in action. It is obviously opposed to public policy to permit a man by means of any legal machinery to deprive himself of all rights which he may ever have in the future. Some limit must be set. Accordingly, though an assignment of a debt not yet due and which may never become due is valid if it appears that there is an existing contract or employment out of which the debt may arise,81 it is generally held that an assignment of a right expected to arise under a contract not yet formed, or employment not yet existing, is invalid.82 This, however, is an arbitrary limit and action not yet due is not the same as that applicable to chattel property. Where an attempted transfer of chattel property is protected by equity, the only requirement is that the property intended shall be described with sufficient exactness;85 but as has been seen, it is not the exactness of the description but the present existence of the contract or employment out of which a chose in action arises that is generally held important.
79As to such contracts, see 19 Harv. L. Rev. 557; and see the following cases where the same doctrine was applied to choses in action. Tailby v. Official Receiver, 13 A. C. 523; Bunion, etc., Sugar Ref'g Co. v. Ferris Sugar Mfg. Co., 78 Fed. 417, s.c. sub nom. Burdon, etc.. Sugar Ref'g. Co. v'Payne, 81 Fed. 663, 26 C. C. A. 552, 167 U. S. 127, 17 8. Ct. 764, 42 L. Ed. 106; Pullan v. Cincinnati, etc., R. Co., 5 Biss. (U. S. C. C.) 237. Be Marine Construction & Drydock Co., 14 Am. B'kcy. Rep. 466; Jesaup v. Bridge, 11
Ia. 672, 79 Am. Dec. 513; Sandwich Mfg. Co. v. Robinson, 83 Ia. 667, 49 N. W. 1031; Riddle v. Dow, 98 la. 7, 66 N. W. 1066, 33 L. R. A. 811; Edwards v. Peterson, 80 Me. 367, 14 Atl. 936, 6 Am. St. Rep. 207; Schubert v. Herzberg, 65 Mo. App. 578; Williamson v. New Jersey Southern, etc., R., 26 N. J. Eq. 398; Clay v. East Tenn. R. Co., 6 Heisk. 421. See also 70 L. R. A. 338, n. Taylor v. Barton-Child Co., 228 Mass. 126, 117 N. E. 43. 80 See supra, Sec. 447.
81 Cor v. Hughes, 10 Cal. App. 553, 102 Pac. 956; Union Collection Co. n. Oliver, 23 Cal. App. 318,137 Pac 1082; Chicago, etc., R. Co. v. Provolt, 42 Colo. 103, 93 Pac. 1126, 16 L. R. A. (N. S.) 587; Harrop v. Landers, etc., Co., 45 Conn. 561; Berlin Iron Bridge Co. v. Connecticut River Banking Co., 76 Conn. 477, 57 All. 275; Walton v. Horkan, 112 Ga. 814, 38 S. E. 105, 61 Am. St, Rep. 77; Ison Co. v. Atlantic etc. R. Co., 17 Ga. App. 459, 87 S. E. 754; Mallin v. Wenham, 209 111. 252, 70 N. E. 564, 101 Am. St. Rep. 233, 65 L. R. A. 602; Monarch Discount Co. v. Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co., 285 111. 233, 120 N. E. 743; Metcalf v. Kincaid, 87 Ia. 443, 64 N. W. 867; Peterson p. Ball, 121 Ia. 544, 97 N. W. 79; Manly v. Bitzer, 91 Ky. 596, 16 S. W. 464, 34 Am. St. Rep. 242; Farrar v. Smith, 64 Me. 74; Emerson v. European, etc., Ry. Co., 67 Me. 387, 24 Am. Rep. 39; Knevals v. Blauvelt, 82 Me. 458, 19 Atl. 818; Shaffer v. Union Mining Co., 55 Md. 74; Lan-nan v. Smith, 7 Gray, 150; Allen P. Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co., 205 Maw. 569, 91 N. E. 887; Taylor v. Barton-Child Co., 228 Mass. 126, 117 N. E. 43; Kane v. Clough, 36 Mich.
436, 24 Am. Rep. 599; Weinberg v Stratton, 163 Mich. 408, 128 N. W-926; Schilling v. Mullen, 56 Minn. 122. 56 N. W. 586; Quigley v. Welter, 85 Minn. 383, 104 N. W. 236; Leonard v. Partington, 124 Minn. 160, 144 N. W. 763; Bell v. Mulholland, 90 Mo. App. 612; Close v. Independent Gravel Co., 156 Mo. App. 411, 138 S. W. 81; Cornell v. Mutual Life Ins. Co., 179 Mo. App. 420, 165 S. W. 858; Garland v. Harrington, 51 N. H. 409; Runnells v. Bosquet, 60 N. H. 38; Provencher v. Brooks, 64 N. H. 479, 13 Atl. 641; Brindze v. Atlantic City Assoc., 75 N. J. Eq. 405, 72 Atl. 435, 77 N. J. Eq. 272,79 Atl. 686; Rodijkeit v. Andrews, 74 Oh. St. 104, 77 N. E. 747, 6 L. R. A. (N. S.) 564; Tiernay v. McGarity, 14 R. I. 231; Kennedy v. Tierney, 14 R. I. 528; Chase v. Duby, 20 R. I. 463, 40 Atl. 100; Dolan v. Hughes, 20 R. I. 513, 40 Atl. 344, 40 L. R. A. 735; Carter v. Nichols, 68 Vt. 553, 5 Atl. 197; Hawes v. Wm. R. Trigg Co., 110 Va. 165, 65 S. E. 538; State Bank v. Hastings, 15 Wis. 75; Porte v. Chicago etc. R. Co., 162 Wis. 446, 156 N. W. 469.