The common law prohibits an assignee to sue in his or her own name to enforce an assigned obligation.  However, statutes in many jurisdictions allow an assignee of a non negotiable note or other assignable chose in action to bring suit in his or her own name to enforce the assigned obligation.  In the absence of a statute providing otherwise, an assignee is permitted and required, in bringing suit, to use the name of the assignor, even without the assignor’s consent or knowledge.

In an effective assignment, the assignee stands in the shoes of the assignor and has all the rights and is subject to all the obligations of the assignor.[i] Therefore, the assignee does not sue in his or her own right.  Applying such a law to the context of a lost, destroyed, or stolen promissory note, if the assignor of a promissory note was entitled to enforce the note when the assignor owned the note, the assignee of the promissory note steps into the assignor’s shoes and acquires the right to enforce the promissory note.[ii]

[i] Collier v. Greenbrier Developers, LLC, 2009 Tenn. App. LEXIS 141 (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 16, 2009)

[ii] Atl. Nat’l Trust, LLC v. McNamee, 984 So. 2d 375 (Ala. 2007)

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