right in the assignee, the first of two or more assignments would apparently prevail over the others. Similarly even though an assignment is held to create merely an equitable right, the prior assignment being the prior equity would prevail; and such is the rule in many of the United States without regard to notice given to the debtor.6 But even though the right be regarded as legal, it may nevertheless be defeasible; and, in England, by a rule which though not depending upon Statute may be compared in its effect to a recording act, or to the rule in sales of chattels preferring a second vendee with delivery over a prior vendee without delivery, whichever of several assignees first gives notice is preferred over other assignees, though they have prior assignments;7 and the English rule is followed in many jurisdictions in the United States.8
6Sutherland v. Reeve, 151 HI. 384, 38 N. E. 130; White v. Wiley, 14 Ind. 406; Summers v. Hutaon, 48 Ind. 228; Newby v. Hill, 2 Mete. (Ky.) 530; Lexington Brewing Co. v. Hamon, 155 Ky. 711, 160 8. W. 284; Columbia, etc., Trust Co. v. First Nat. Bank, 116 Ky. 364, 25 Ky. L. Rep. 561, 76 S. W. 156; Thayer v. Daniels, 113 Mass. 120; Whittredge v. Sweetser, 180 Man. 45, 75 N. E. 222; Herman v. Connecticut Mut. Life Ins. Co., 218 Mass. 181,105 N. E. 450, 451; Burton v. Gage, 85 Minn. 355, 88 N. W. 907; Muir v. Schenck, 3 Hill, 228, 38 Am. Dec. 633; Bush v. Lathrop, 22 N. Y. 535, 546; Greentree v. Rosenatock, 61 N. Y. 583, 593; Williams v. Ingersoll, 80 N. Y. 508, 523; Fairbanks v. Sargent, 104 N. Y. 108,118, 9 M. E. 870, 68 Am. Rep. 490; Fortunate v. Patten, 147 N. Y. 277, 41 N. E. 572; Central Trust Co. v. West India Imp. Co., 169 N. Y. 314, 323, 62 N. E. 387; Lindsay v. Wilson, 2 Dev. & Bat. Eq. 85; Meier v. Hess, 23 Oreg. 599, 32 Pac. 765; Youngberg v. El Paso Brick Co. (Tex. Civ. App.), 155 S. W. 716; Davis v. State Nat. Bank
(Tex. Civ. App.), 159 S. W. 321; West Texas Lumber Co. v. Green County (Tex. Civ. App.), 188 S. W. 283; Daily's Ex. v. Warren, 80 Va. 612; Clarke v. Hogeman, 13 W. Vs. 718; Tingle v. Fisher, 20 W. Va. 497.
7 Dearle v. Hall 3 Russ. 1; Foster v. Cockerell, 3 Cl. & F. 456; Freshfield's Trust, 11 Ch. D. 198. See Ward v. Duncombe,  A. C. 369, 391; In re Wenigert Policy,  2 Ch. 291. So in Scotland, Redfeam v. Ferrier, 1 Dow. P. C. 60.
The rule is enforced in England against assignees in bankruptcy as well as other assignees, a subsequent assignment prevailing over the prior right of an assignee in bankruptcy who has failed to notify the debtor, fie Ban's Trusts, 4 K. & J. 219; Re Russell's Policy Trusts, L. R. 15 Eq. 26. But the prior assignee of an equitable chose in action was preferred over a subsequent assignee who first gave notice in Hill v. Peters, (1918) 2Ch.273.
8 Judson v. Corcoran, 17 How. 612,15 L. Ed. 231; Spain v. Hamilton's Adm.,
"Whatever view may be entertained as to the English doctrine which prefers the assignee who first gives notice, the second assignee [assuming that he paid value in good faith for his assignment, or that if a volunteer, he took in good faith and the first assignee also was a volunteer] is in several contingencies clearly entitled to supplant the first assignee, e. g., (1) if acting in good faith he obtains payment of the claim assigned;9 or, (2) if he reduces his claim to a judgment in his own name;10 or, (3) if he effects a novation with the obligor, whereby the obligation in favor of the assignor is superseded by a new one running to himself;11 or, (4) if he obtains the document' containing the obligation when the latter is in the form of a specialty.12 In all these cases, having obtained a legal right in good faith and for value, the prior assignee cannot properly deprive him of this legal right."13
1 Wall. 604,17 L. Ed. 619; Re Gillespie, 15 Fed. 734; Methven v. S. I. Light Co., 66 Fed. 113, 35 U. S. App. 67,13 C. C. A. 362; In re Hawley, etc., Furnace Co., 233 Fed. 4S1 (Pa.}; Graham Paper Co. v. Pembroke, 124 CAl. 117,56 Pac. 627, 44 L. R. A. 632, 71 Am. St. Rep. 26; Jackson v. Hamm, 14 Colo. 68, 23 Pao. 88; Bishop v. Holcomb, 10 Coon. 444, 446; National Bank v. United Security Co., 17 D. C. App. 112; Merchants', etc., Bank p. Hewitt, 3 Ia. 93, 66 Am. Dec 49; Manning v. Matthews, 70 Ia. 803,30 N. W. 749; Lambert v. Morgan, 110 Md. 1, 72 Atl. 407, 132 Am. St. Rep. 412; Enochs Havis, etc, Co. v. Newoomb, 79 Miss. 462, 30 So. 608; Murdoch p. Finney, 21 Mo. 138; Houser p. Richardson, 90 Mo. App. 134; Jenkinson p. New York Finance Co., 79 N. J. Eq. 247, 82 Atl. 36; Wallaton v. Braswell, 1 Jones Eq. 137; Copeland v. Manton, 22 Oh. St. 398, 401; Citi-sena' Nat. Bank v. Mitchell, 24 Old. 488, 103 Pac 720; Market Nat. Bank v. Raspberry, 34 OH. 243,124 Pac. 758, L. R. A. 1916 E. 79; Fraley's Appeal, 76 Pa. 42; Pratt's Appeal, 77 Pa. 378; Phillips Est (No. 3), 205 Pa. 515, 55 Atl. 213, 66 L. R. A. 760, 97 Am. St. Rep. 746; Trailer p. Kunts, 36 Pa. Sup. Ct. 352; Clodfelter p. Cox, 1 Sneed, 330, 60 Am. Dee. 157; Peters v. Goets, 136 Term. 257, 188 S. W. 1144; Ward p. Morrison, 25 Vt. 593; Coffman p. Liggett, 107 Va. 418, 59 S.E.392.
9Ames's Cases on Trusts (2d ed.), 328, citing - Judaon p. Corcoran, 17 How. 612, 15 L. Ed. 231; Bridge v. Connecticut Ins. Co., 152 Mass. 343, 25 N. E. 612; Bradley v. Root, 5 Paige, 632, 640 (to which may be added - Herman p. Connecticut Mut. Life Ins. Co., 218 Man. 181, 105 N. E. 450; Fairbanks p. Sargent, 117 N. Y. 320, 835, 22 N. E. 1039, 6 L. R. A. 475; Central Trust Co. p. West India Improvement Co., 169 N. Y. 314, 327, 62 N. E. 387).
10 Ibid., citing: Judson v. Corcoran, 17 How. 612,15 L. Ed. 231; Mercantile Co. p. Corcoran, 1 Gray, 75.
11 Ibid., citing: New York 4N.H.R. Co. v. Schuyler, 34 N. Y. 30, 80; Strange p. Houston & T. C. Ry. Co., 53 Tex. 162 (to which may be added - Burok p. Taylor, 152 U. S. 634, 14 Sup. Ct. 696, 38 L. Ed. 578).
12Ibid., citing: Re Gillespie, 15 Fed. 734; Bridge v. Connecticut Mut. L. Ins. Co., 152 Mass. 343, 25 N. E. 612; Fisher v. Knox, 13 Pa. 622, 53 Am. Dec. 503 [to which may be added - Washington v. Wabash Bridge 4 I. Works, 147 Mich, 671, 111 N. W.
If knowledge of the rule requiring notice could be widely diffused among the community, the English rule would have the same advantages in a lesser degree which a recording system for deeds and mortgages possesses. As notice is everywhere agreed to be vital in order to protect an assignee against fraudulent settlements between the debtor and assignor, it seems best to adopt the test of notice in contests between successive assignees, even though prior assignees are likely to suffer thereby, until business men learn what is necessary. A difficulty arises in applying this rule, however, where a garnishment of the debt is made between the dates of the first assignment without notice to the debtor, and a second assignment with such notice. The garnishment since it precedes the second assignment must be superior to it. On the other hand, the garnishment is subordinate to the first assignment.14 Accordingly, in this situation, it has been held that the first assignment is superior to the second, though the debtor had earlier notice of the latter.15
Statutes sometimes require record of an assignment of wages or notice of it to the assignor as a condition precedent to its validity. Under such statutes that assignment which first complies with the statutory requirement, prevails.16 Wherever under the existing law a prior assignee has the superior right,
349, 11 L. R. A. (N. S.) 471. See also Graham Paper Co. v, Pembroke, 124 Cal. 117, 56 Pac. 827, 44 L. R. A. 632). But without discussion of estoppel a contrary decision was reached in regard to a non-negotiable note in Emley v. Perrine, 58 N. J. L. 472, and in regard to a policy of insurance in In re Weni-ger's Policy,  2 Ch. 291. In Phelps v. Linnan, 174 Ia. 138, 156 N. W. 294, a second assignee was given the written contract under which the assignor's rights arose and by representing to the debtor that there had been a reassignment obtained payment. This payment was held to bar an action against the debtor by the first assignor, though he had given notice of his assignment before the payment was made. If the case is sound an assignee under any written contract must get the writing to be secure.
14 See supra, } 434.
15 Phillips Estate (No. 4), 206 Pa. 525, 55 Atl. 216, 97 Am. St. Rep. 750.
16 Peabody v. Lewiston, 83 Me. 288, 22 Atl. 171; Whitcomb v. Watervule, 99 Me. 75, 58 Atl. 68; Hall v. Boston Glass Co., 207 Mass. 328, 93 N. E. 640; Thompson v. Erie R. Co., 207 N. Y. 171, 100 N. E. 791; Bowley v. Erie R. Co., 70 N. Y. Misc. 168, 128 N. Y. S. 468.
if the subsequent assignee collects the claim after he has acquired knowledge of the prior, and equitably superior, assignment, he is liable at the suit of the first assignee.17 If the debtor also was aware at the time he paid the second assignee of the existence of the prior assignment, he also is liable to the prior assignee.18 It has heretofore been assumed that all of the assignees in question were assignees of the whole claim, and if partial assignments are protected by the law to the same extent that total assignments are, the result will not be different if one or more of the assignments is only of part of the claim. It has been held, however, under the Georgia Code, that the assignee of an entire claim acquires legal ownership thereto, while it still remains true that the assignee of part of a claim acquires only an equitable right; and that consequently a subsequent assignment of the whole claim taken in good faith and for value prevails over, and invalidates a prior partial assignment.19 Whatever may be the necessity of such a decision under the Georgia Code, it seems to reach an undesirable result in view of the business importance of partial assignments. Wherever the decision is followed it should be understood that a partial assignment is worthless as security since the assignor remains able to invalidate it at any time by making a total assignment. Nor does it seem that notice to the debtor would help the partial assignor unless the debtor promised to pay him. The case would probably not be followed even in jurisdictions which allow or require an assignee of an entire claim to sue in his own name;20 as such permission is properly held by most courts to make a change in procedure only, not in substantive law.
17 Brooks v. Hinton State Bank, 26 Okla. 66, 110 Pac. 46; Carnegie Trust Go. v. Battery Place Realty Co., 67 N. Y. Misc. 452,122 N. Y. 8. 697.
18 Carnegie Trust Co. v. Battery Place Realty Co., 67 N. Y. Misc. 452, 122 N. Y. 8. 697.
19King v. Central of Georgia Ry. Co., 135 Ga. 225, 69 S. E. 113. See also The Elmbank, 72 Fed. 610.
20 In Fairbanks v. Sargent, 104 N. Y. 108, 9 N. E. 870, 58 Am. Rep. 490, 117 N. Y. 320,22 N. E. 1039,6 L. R. A.
475, it was held after elaborate consideration, that a prior partial assignee prevailed over a subsequent assignee of the whole claim who took in good faith and without notice. The same result was reached in Gillette v. Murphy, 7 Okla. 91, 54 Pac. 413. In Bridge v. Connecticut Mut. life Ins. Co., 152 Mass. 343, 25 N. E. 612, a prior partial assignee would apparently have been preferred over a subsequent total assignee had he not been guilty of laches.