Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A right enforceable by action; a right to sue. See 76 U. S. 387, 19 L. Ed. 736.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    A right to personal things of which the owner has not the possession, but merely a right of action for their possession. 2 Bl. Comm. 389, 397; 1 Chit Pr. 99. A right to receive or recover a debt, demand, or damages on a cause of action ex contractu, or for a tort connected with contract, but which cannot be made available without recourse to an action. Bushnell v. Kennedy, 9 Wall. 390, 19 L. Ed. 736; Turner v. State, 1 Ohio St. 426; Sheldon v. Sill, 8 How. 441, 12 L. Ed. 1147; People v. Tioga Common Pleas, 19 Wend. (N. Y.) 73; Sterling v. Sims, 72 Ga. 53; Bank v. Holland, 99 Va. 495, 39 S. E. 126, 55 In R. A. 155, 86 Am. St. Rep. 898. Personalty to which the owner has a right of possession in future, or a right of immediate possession, wrongfully withheld, is termed by the law a "chose in action." Code Ga. 1882, § 2239. Chose in action is a phrase which is sometimes used to signify a right of bringing an action, and, at others, the thing itself which forms the subject-matter of that right, or with regard to which that right is exercised; but it more properly includes the idea both of the thing itself and of the right of action as annexed to it Thus, when it is said that a debt is a chose in action, the phrase conveys the idea, not only of the thing itself, i. e., the debt, but also of the right of action or of recovery possessed by the person to whom the debt is due. When it is said that a chose in action cannot be assigned, it means that a thing to which a right of action la annexed cannot be transferred to another, together with such right. Brown. A chose in action is any right to damages, whether arising from the commission of a tort, the omission of a duty, or the breach of a contract. Pitts v. Curtis, 4 Ala. 350; Magee v. Toland, 8 Port (Ala.) 40.