This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If the person who contracts for the skill, personal labor or credit of another consents to the attempted assignment of such contract by such other, he can not subsequently object that the contract could not be assigned.1 Such a transaction is said, however, not to be an assignment, but a new contract between one of the parties to the original contract and the assignee of the other.2 If this theory is correct, a contract in which the personality of one of the parties is material for any reason, is non-assignable as a matter of law, without regard to the agreement of the parties or to their subsequent assent.
7Bryne v. Dorey, 221 Mass. 390, 109 N. E. 146.
8 Bryne v. Dorey, 221 Mass. 399, 109 N. E. 146.
9 Illinois. Glover v. Lee, 140 111. 102, 29 N. E. 680.
Iowa. Bartling v. German Mutual Ins. Co., 154 Ia. 336, 134 N. W. 864.
Massachusetts. Boardman v. Holmes, 124 Mass. 438.
New York. Greene v. Republic Fire Ins. Co., 84 N. Y. 572.
1 American Colortype Co. v. Continental Colortype Co., 188 U. S. 104, 47 L. ed. 404; Cleveland, etc., Ry. v. Wood, 189 Ill. 352, 59 N. E. 619; Weath-erhogg v. Board of Commissioners, 158 Ind. 14, 62 N. E. 477.
2 American Colortype Co. v. Continental Colortype Co., 188 U. S. 104, 47 L. ed. 404.
"It is true that the starting point for the relations between the plaintiff and its employes was what purported to be an assignment. It is true that the bill emphasizes this aspect of the case and states the evidence more accurately than the result. But those circumstances do not change the legal conclusion from the facts set forth. The allegations show that, having the old contract before them, the parties came together under a new agreement, which was determined by reference to the terms of that contract, but which none the less was personal and immediate. Maas, Fierlein and Freese. who were under contract with the National Colortype Company, agreed to work for the plaintiff instead. The plaintiff accepted their promises and gave a consideration for them by undertaking personally to pay. It does not matter that the bill calls this becoming substituted as the employer and as a party to the old contracts. The plaintiff could not become substituted to a strictly personal relation. All that it could do was to enter into a new one which was exactly like that which had existed before. Service is like marriage, which, in the old law, was a species of it. It may be repeated, but substitution is unknown." American Colortype Co. v. Continental Colortype Co., 188 U. S. 104, 47 L. ed. 404.
It seems to be assumed in some cases that such contract is assignable with the assent of the original parties thereto.3 If the parties to a personal contract consent to its assignment, a third person, such as the assignee, can not object thereafter.4 If A assigns B's contract for personal services to C, and B acquiesces in such assignment, C can not refuse to pay to A the amount agreed upon as consideration for such assignment, on the ground that the contract was a personal one.5