LAW 511-002 – Torts I

Conversion


Conversion is the:

  1. intentional
  2. exercise of dominion of control
    • There must be very substantial deprivation of possession rights.
      § 222A What Constitutes Conversion
      1. In determining the seriousness of the interference and the justice of requiring the actor to pay the full value, the following factors are important:
        1. the extent and duration of the actor's exercise of dominion or control;
        2. the actor's intent to assert a right in fact inconsistent with the other's right of control;
        3. the actor's good faith;
        4. the extent and duration of the resulting interference with the other's right of control;
        5. the harm done to the chattel;
        6. the inconvenience and expense caused to the other.
      § 223 Ways of Committing Conversion

      A conversion may be committed by intentionally

      1. dispossessing another of a chattel as stated in §§ 221 and 222;
      2. destroying or altering a chattel as stated in § 226;
      3. using a chattel as stated in §§ 227 and 228;
      4. receiving a chattel as stated in §§ 229 and 231;
      5. disposing of a chattel as stated in § 233;
      6. misdelivering a chattel as stated in §§ 234 and 235;
      7. refusing to surrender a chattel as stated in §§ 237-241.
  3. over the chattel of another
  4. which substantially interferes with the other's right of control.

In conversion, the convertor takes and uses the chattel as his own, affecting the chattel in a way inconsistent with the rights of the true owner.

Damages are the market value at the time of the conversion.

Nominal damages are allowed for conversion.

Using the chattel of another beyond the scope permitted can constitute a conversion.

  1. Information gathered and arranged at some cost and sold as a commodity on the market
  2. Ideas formulated with labor and inventive genius, as in the case of literary works or scientific researches
  3. Instruments of fair and effective commercial competition

A good faith purchaser for value can be a convertor if the seller stole the item.

  • A bona fide purchaser is protected in a sale from a merchant "who deals in good of that kind".
  • In fraud, title does not pass, so the good faith purchaser is not a convertor.

True owner's right to rescind is terminated when title and possession is passed.