Business Tort Series: Conduct Constituting Conversion
Most of us are familiar with criminal theft, which is stealing an object that is someone else’s property. There is a broader concept in civil law called conversion, which is an intentional tort (civil wrong) referring to a taking of property belonging to another with the intent of exercising an ownership inconsistent with the real owner’s right of possession. PGI, Inc. v. Rathe Prods., Inc., 265 Va. 334, 344 (2003).
The key concept is that conversion occurs when one has or takes possession of the property of another and refuses to return it without legal justification. There are many sub-types of conversion. An easy example is where someone lends you a car for a month. At the end of the month, you refuse to give the car back. You would be liable for conversion. The key to identifying conversion is that there is an affirmative act on the part of someone that deprives the owner of the possession of the owner’s property.
It takes an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to analyze claims like conversion. The commercial attorneys at MichieHamlett have that experience and are ready to assist you.