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.
In some jurisdictions certain contracts are specifically forbidden to be assigned either at all, or for certain specified purposes. A federal statute provides that contracts with the United States can not be assigned, and that claims against the United States can not be assigned until a warrant has been given for the claim.1 While this statute was at first held to make assignments of such contracts invalid, as between the assignor and assignee,2 it is now held that the legislative intent was merely to protect the United States and its officers from being compelled to recognize assignments. Accordingly, if the proper federal officials acquiesce in the assignment no one else has any right to complain.3 Such assignment is valid as between the assignor and the assignee.4 Claims against the United States can not be assigned if the United States does not assent thereto.5 If the United States does not assent, claims due from it can not be reached by attachment, or by the appointment of a receiver of the particular claim.6 A disbursing officer has no power to bind the United States by recognizing an assignment, and his recognition gives it no validity.7 An attorney can not enforce a lien upon a claim which he has recovered for his client.8
26 Curtiss y. Ins. Co., 90 Cal. 245, 25 Am. St. Rep. 114, 27 Pac. 211; Aetna Insurance Co. v. Smith, 117 Miss. 327, L. R. A. 1918D, 1158, 78 So. 289.
21 Whiting v. Burkhardt 178 Mass. 535, 86 Am. St. Rep. 503, 52 L. R. A. 788, 60 N. E. 1.
22 Marshall v. Insurance Co., 176 Pa. St. 628, 34 L. R. A. 159, 35 Atl. 204.
23 Holmes v. Seaman, 184 N. Y. 486, 77 N. E. 724.
24 Elliott v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 100 Neb. 833, L. R. A. 1917C, 1061, 161 N. W. 579.
1 R. S. U. S. Sec. | 3477, 3737. 2Spofford v. Kirk, 97 U. S. 484, 24 L. ed. 1032.
Such statute does not apply to a subcontract made by a government contractor with a third person to enable the former to perform his contract with the government,9 nor to. an assignment by a deputy marshal of his claims against the marshal.10 This prohibition does not apply to claims against officers, as to a claim against a postoffice inspector for money seized by him but not then turned over to the postmaster-general,11 or drafts of deputies accepted by a marshal;12 nor does it apply to a pledge of a crop of sugar including the bounty;13 nor to a transfer by one partner to another of all the partnership property including such claim;14 nor to an assignment of a claim against the United States to a receiver ordered by a court of chancery;15 nor to the purchase of a claim sold in bankruptcy.16 Where specified forms of assignment are required, informality in assignment, though "absolutely void" by statute, does not invalidate such assignment as between the parties, but the assignee may enforce his lien after payment by the government to the assignor.17
3 United States. Goodman v. Niblaek, 102 U. S. 656, 26 L. ed. 229; Hobbs v McLean, 117 U. S. 567, 29 L. ed. 940; Freedman's, etc., Co. v. Shepherd, 127 U. S. 494, 32 L. ed. 163; Lay v. Lay, 248 U. S. 24, 63 L. ed. 23; Dulaney v. Scudder, 94 Fed. 6, 36 C. C. A. 52; Heg-ness v. Chilberg, 224 Fed. 28, 139 C. C. A. 492; Lopey v. United States, 24 a. Cl. 84, 2 L. R. A. 571.
Massachusetts. Jerriegan v. Osborn, 155 Mass. 207, 29 N. E. 520; Thayer v. Pressey, 175 Mass. 225, 56 N. E. 5.
Mississippi. Fewell v. Surety Co., 80 Miss. 782, 92 Am. St. Rep. 625, 28 So. 755.
New York. York v. Conde, 147 N. Y. 486, 42 N. E. 193.
Virginia. Hawes v. Wm. R. Trigg Co., 110 Va. 165, 65 S. E. 538.
4 Nutt v. Knut, 200 U. S. 12, 50 L. ed. 348 [affirming, Knut v. Nutt, 83 Miss. 365, 102 Am. St. Rep. 452, 35 So. 686]; Lay v. Lay, 248 U. S. 24, 63 L. ed. 23; Dexter v. Meigs, 47 N. J. Eq. 488, 21 Atl. 114; In re Hone, 153 N. Y. 522, 47 N. E. 798.
The statute does not apply where the work was finished by the creditors of the contractor, and one of the creditors secured all the money and applied it to his claim; other creditors garni-sheed. Fewell v. Surety Co., 80 Miss. 782, 28 So. 755.
5 Nutt v. Knut, 200 U. S. 12, 50 L. ed. 348 [affirming, Knut v. Nutt, 83 Miss. 365, 102 Am. St. Rep. 452, 35 So. 686]; United States v. Illinois Surety Co., 226 Fed. 653, 141 C. C. A. 409; John Shillito Co. v. McClung, 51 Fed. 868, 2 C. C. A. 526 (claim for duties).
6 Howes v. United States, 24 Ct. Cl. 170, 5 L. R. A. 66.
7 Greenville Savings Bank v. Lawrence, 76 Fed. 545, 22 C. C. A. 646, U. S. Rev. St., Sec. 3477; Harris v. United States, 27 Ct. Cl. 177; Hitchcock v. United States, 27 Ct. Cl. 185.
8 Nutt v. Knut, 200 U. S. 12, 50 L. ed. 348 [affirming, Knut v. Nutt, 83 Miss. 365, 102 Am. St. Rep. 452, 35 So. 686].
9 United States v. Farley, 91 Fed. 474.
10 Wallace v. Douglas, 116 N. Car. 659, 21 S. E. 387 (this not being a claim against the United States).
Some statutes forbid assigning a claim to a non-resident to enable him to sue in another state and thus avoid local exemption laws. In the absence of statute this can be done and the debtor has no right of action against the assignor.18 An attachment suit already begun in another state may be assigned to a resident of such state on the debtor's making an assignment in insolvency, and thus an injunction against the prosecution of the attachment suit may be prevented.19 Statutes forbidding assignment of claims to residents of other states to evade exemption laws are valid.20 They apply to a claim assigned in good faith before the act is passed, but assigned by the assignee to a third person to evade the act.21 They apply to a foreign corporation doing business and extending credit within the state, which sues in another state to enforce its claim.22 In the absence of statute in the state in which suit is brought, such statutes forbidding assignment have no extra territorial operation. The efficient remedy is either to make such conduct criminal,23 or to provide that in such cases the debtor may recover from the assignor the amount collected from the debtor by the action in the state to which the debt has been sent for collection.24
11 United States v. Ferguson, 78 Fed. 103.
12 Douglas v. Wallace, 161 U. S. 346, 40 L. ed. 727.
13 Barrow v. Milliken, 74 Fed. 612, 20
14Jernegan v. Oaborn, 155 Mass. 207, 39 N. E. 520.
15 Price v. Forrest, 173 U. S. 410, 43 L. ed. 749; Redfield v. United States, 27 Ct. Cl. 393; Forrest v. Price, 52 N. J. Eq. 16, 29 Atl. 215; Price v. Forrest, 54 N. J. Eq. 669, 35 Atl. 1075.
16McKay v. United States, 27 Ct. Cl. 422.
17York v. Conde, 147 N. Y. 486, 42 N. E. 193, U. S. R. S. 8 3477.
18Horwell v. Sharp, 85 Ga. 124, 21 Am. St. Rep. 149, 8 L. R. A. 514, 11 S. E. 561.
18 Proctor v. Bank, 152 Mass. 223, 9 L. R. A. 122, 25 N. E. 81.
20 Gordon v. Wageman, 77 Neb. 185, 108 N. W. 1067; St. Louis & S. F. R. Co. v. Crews, 51 Okla. 144, 151 Pac. 879; Sweeny v. Hunter, 145 Pa. St. 363, 14 L. R. A. 594, 22 Atl. 653.
21 Bishop v. Middleton, 43 Neb. 10, 26 L. R. A. 445, 61 N. W. 129.
22 Singer Mfg. Co. v. Fleming, 39 Neb. 679, 42 Am. St. Rep. 613, 58 N. W. 226.
Under some statutes an assignment of future wages is invalid.25 Such statute does not prevent the assignment, by a contractor, of money due under a contract which he has performed substantially in full.26 Under some statutes an assignment of future wages is void except for necessaries.27 Under other statutes an assignment of future wages or salary by a married man is void, unless such assignment is in writing and signed by his wife as well as by himself.28 An assignment of future wages may be required to be in writing and may be limited to a fixed period of time.29
An attorney may be forbidden to buy a right of action.30