Among the many types of intentional torts, there are some individuals who commit an intentional act known as conversion. When filing legal action against someone who has committed conversion, it is important to understand what the legal term implies and how your case applies to it.
Conversion involves the unauthorized exercise of right of ownership over the personal belongings or personal attributes of another person. When assuming this ownership the person who has committed conversion against you may not only assume ownership but also impose changes to the condition of the item or even limit your access to the item. When found guilty of conversion, the person who has committed the intentional tort action against you must be commit an offense that is considered highly serious. In fact, so serious, that full value of that personal item must be compensated to you.
While common law traditionally viewed conversion as only involving tangible items, in recent decades there have been changes to the views on conversion. In addition to tangible personal properties, non-tangible items, such as finances can also be implicated as a conversion.
When filing a complaint of conversion, the court will want to first examine if trover was an action that played a key factor in the intentional tort of conversion. By this we mean, the property was lost by you and then subsequently found by the person who made the conversion. If trover and conversion are, indeed, the chain of events that occurred, the law traditionally requires that the person who made the conversion make full payment to the original owner for the full value of the item.
In contrast, some courts will allow for the process of replevin when conversion is proven. In the situation of replevin, the property is recovered and returned to the original owner with little to no compensatory damages paid. In modern law, if you feel you have become victim to conversion, the court may simply advise that an action for replevin be filed and, thus, you are seeking return of your property in its original condition.
In addition to a direct conversion, in which an individual assumes the illegal ownership of your property, there are also cases in which there may be a legal transfer of ownership of your property, on a temporary basis, which results in a second conversion in which an unlawful transfer occurs. While these are quite convoluted cases, they can arise even when partial transfers are considered legal and binding.