Sufficiency of Evidence

An assignee’s burden of proving the existence of the assignment is met by evidence which is satisfactory to protect the defendant from another action by the alleged assignor.  If a plaintiff is a real party in interest due to its status as an assignee, this must be proved by evidence in order to protect the defendant from another action by the alleged assignor.  This burden is generally met by establishing a complete assignment of the claim from an assignor who was a real party in interest with respect to the claim.[i]

In order to establish an effective assignment, the assignee must provide evidence showing the intent of the assignor to assign the rights and obligations under the contract.[ii] When an alleged assignment is denied, then the burden of proving it is on the plaintiff.[iii] If a sole beneficiary is assumed to act for his/her trustee, only slight evidence of agency is necessary than if  he/she were a total stranger to the assignor.[iv]

An assignee of a nonnegotiable chose in action can sue in his/her own name only where the assignment is in writing and there must be evidence to establish the making and delivery of the assignment.[v] An equitable assignment is implied from the conduct of the parties rather than established by express words of formal assignment.

However, the evidence of an equitable assignment must be clear and specific and the assignor must not retain any control over the fund or any authority to collect.[vi] Similarly, proof of the intent to assign must be clear and positive to protect the obligor from any further claim by the primary obligee.[vii]

[i] Castleman v. Redford, 61 Nev. 259, 267 (Nev. 1942)

[ii] Britton v. Co-Op Banking Group, 4 F.3d 742 (9th Cir. Cal. 1993)

[iii] Norton v. Consolidated Fisheries, Inc., 120 Cal. App. 2d 86 (Cal. App. 1953)

[iv] Little v. Brown, 40 Ariz. 206 (Ariz. 1932)

[v] Lombardi v. Electromet Co., 540 A.2d 16 (R.I. 1988)

[vi] Recorded Picture Co. (productions) Ltd v. Nelson Entm’t, 53 Cal. App. 4th 350 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 1997)

[vii] Mission Valley East, Inc. v. County of Kern, 120 Cal. App. 3d 89 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 1981)


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