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What is Conversion?


What is conversion? Conversion is defined to be an act of willful interference with personal property, done without lawful justification, by which any person entitled thereto is deprived of the use and possession of the personal property. De Vries v. Brumback (1960) 53 Cal.2d 643, 647.  To establish a claim for conversion, the plaintiff must prove all of the following: (1) that plaintiff owned, possessed or had a right to possess the property, (2) that defendant intentionally and substantially interfered with plaintiff’s property by taking possession of the property, preventing plaintiff from having access to the property, destroying the property or refusing to return the property after demand, (3) that plaintiff did not consent, (4) that plaintiff was harmed and (5) that defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm. See, Judicial Counsel of California, Civil Jury Instruction (CACI), No. 2100.

Conversion in Business Disputes

Conversion comes up frequently in business and other legal disputes.  The experienced trial attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP have dealt with these types of claims for over 25 years.

Additionally, conversion actions may be based on the unauthorized use of property. Igauye v. Howard (1952) 114 Cal.App.2d 122, 126; Fischer v. Machado (1996) 50 Cal.App.4th 1069. Indeed, conversion is said to result from any act of dominion wrongfully exerted over another’s personal property in denial of or inconsistent with his or her rights therein. Zaslow v. Kroenert (1946) 29 Cal.2d 541, 549; Weiss v. Marcus (1975) 51 Cal.App.3d 590, 599.

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