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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: March 15, 2018

Defendant Liable for Converting Money Belonging to Plaintiffs Even Though the Possession Was Only Temporary

On March 6, 2018, the First Department issued a decision in 135 Bowery LLC v. Beach Channel Shoppers Mart Co., LLC, 2018 NY Slip Op. 01443, holding that a defendant could be liable for conversion of funds even though its possession of the funds was only temporary, explaining:

Plaintiffs established a prima facie case of conversion. It is undisputed that defendant possessed plaintiffs’ funds without authorization and in derogation of plaintiffs’ right of ownership. That the possession was only temporary raises no issue of fact (cf. People v Hardy, 26 NY3d 245, 250 [2015] [“The taking’ element of larceny is satisfied by a showing that the thief exercised dominion and control over the property for a period of time, however temporary, in a manner wholly inconsistent with the owner’s continued rights”]).

(Internal citations omitted).

Commercial litigation often involves conversion claims. As this decision shows, conversion can involve much more than physical objects. It can involve money (in certain circumstances) as well as intangible property. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have a question regarding one person depriving another of her property, whether that property is tangible or intangible, or even involves a discrete fund of money.

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