What is conversion?

Conversion Defined and Required Elements

“Conversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another.” (Lee v. Hanley (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1225, 1240 citing Welco Electronics, Inc. v. Mora (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 202, 208.)

“The elements of a conversion claim are:

  1. the plaintiff’s ownership or right to possession of the property;
  2. the defendant's conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and
  3. damages.”

(Id.)

A cause of action for conversion requires allegations of plaintiff's ownership or right to possession of property;  defendant's wrongful act toward or disposition of the property, interfering with plaintiff's possession;  and damage to plaintiff.  (Burlesci v. Petersen (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 1062, 1066, 80 Cal.Rptr.2d 704.)

Money as Basis for Conversion

“Money cannot be the subject of a cause of action for conversion unless there is a specific, identifiable sum involved, such as where an agent accepts a sum of money to be paid to another and fails to make the payment. (McKell v. Washington Mutual, Inc. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1457, 1491, citing Fischer v. Machado (1996) 50 Cal.App.4th 1069, 1072–73.) By contrast, a “generalized claim for money [is] not actionable as conversion.” (Vu v. California Commerce Club, Inc. (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 229, 235.) As long as there is a definite sum involved, however, “it is not necessary that each coin or bill be earmarked.” (Weiss v. Marcus (1975) 51 Cal.App.3d 590, 599, citing Haigler v. Donnelly (1941) 18 Cal.2d 674, 681.)

Thus, in Chazen v. Centennial Bank (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 532, 543, 71 Cal.Rptr.2d 462, the plaintiffs stated a cause of action for conversion where the bank took funds from trust accounts to pay the trustee's personal indebtedness.

Breach of Bailment Action and Conversion

“In connection with the breach of bailment cause of action, [where] plaintiffs did not allege that defendants were holding their payments on behalf of another, in essence in trust for the third party vendors ...[and] Plaintiffs cite no authority for the proposition that a cause of action for conversion may be based on an overcharge....   [c]onsequently, they have failed to demonstrate that they have stated a cause of action for conversion.”  (McKell v. Washington Mutual, Inc. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1457, 1491 citing City of Atascadero v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., supra, 68 Cal.App.4th at p. 459, 80 Cal.Rptr.2d 329;  Mansell v. Board of Administration, supra, 30 Cal.App.4th at pp. 545-546, 35 Cal.Rptr.2d 574.)

“Conversion also occurs when the defendant applies property to his or her own use.” (Oakdale Village Group, supra, 43 Cal.App.4th at p. 544.) Additionally, “[t]he unauthorized transfer of property constitutes a conversion.” (Welco Electronics, Inc. v. Mora (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 202, 209.)

Useful Rulings on Conversion

Recent Rulings on Conversion

WEST COVINA CAR STOP, LLC, A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY VS ROUND TABLE REMARKETING D.R.S., INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

On January 14, 2020, Plaintiff filed a complaint, asserting causes of action against Round Table, Ward and Does 1-50 for: Breach of Contract Account Stated Alter Ego Conversion On March 6, 2020, Round Table’s and Ward’s defaults were entered. A Case Management Conference is set for June 8, 2020. Discussion Plaintiff’s Application for Default Judgment is DENIED without prejudice. The following defects are noted: It is unclear how Ward would be personally liable.

  • Hearing

    Sep 23, 2020

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

MED CAFE CORP, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION VS MOSTAFA KARIMBEIK, ET AL.

Sixth Cause of Action: ConversionConversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another. The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiff’s ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant’s conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages.” (Lee v. Hanley (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1225, 1240.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 26, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ANNE SHOYKHET, ET AL. VS NATHALIE DUBOIS, ET AL.

Second Cause of Action: ConversionConversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another. The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiff’s ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant’s conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages.” (Lee v. Hanley (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1225, 1240.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 26, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

JOHNATHAN MOLTONI, ET AL. VS XTREME MOTOR SPORTS, INC., ET AL.

On May 7, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a complaint, asserting a cause of action against Defendants and Does 1-20 for: Breach of Contract Fraudulent Misrepresentation Negligent Misrepresentation Fraud—Concealment Violation of Business and Professions Code Section 17200 Conversion Unjust Enrichment Conspiracy Money Had and Received Negligence On June 24, 2019, Defendants’ defaults were entered. On October 24, 2019, Plaintiffs dismissed Xtreme, without prejudice.

  • Hearing

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ANTONE NINO AND NASRIN SHAKERI NINO, A PARTNERSHIP VS NASRIN SHAKERI NINO, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS GENERAL PARTNER, ETC., ET AL.

The FAC asserts causes of action for: (1) damages for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and constructive fraud by general partner; (2) misappropriation and conversion of partnership assets by general partner; (3) accounting by general partner; (4) restitution and disgorgement of partnership assets misappropriated by general partner; (5) cancellation and damages for voidable transactions; (6) declaration of voidness of illegal financial transactions between attorney and clients induced by undue influence

  • Hearing

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

FILIPPINI WEALTH MANAGEMENT INC ET AL VS MEISTER & NUNES PC ET AL

., and (4) conversion. On October 15, 2019, defendant separately served its Request for Production of Documents, Set One, on each plaintiff. After plaintiffs were granted an extension of time to December 20, 2019, to respond to the document requests, without objections, plaintiffs served their responses. However, the responses included numerous objections and the document production was allegedly incomplete.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Judge Donna Geck
  • County

    Santa Barbara County, CA

ARTURO REYES V. IVARY MANAGEMENT CO., ET AL.

The supplemental declaration shall also address the references in the Declaration of Alireza Alivandivafa to a Second Amended Complaint and a dismissal by stipulation of plaintiff’s conversion claim, which appear to be in error, as well as the release of claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), discussed below.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

PAULINA VEGA VS JPMORGAN CHASE BANK NA

derivative or directly related to the foregoing claims, which include any and all claims: for penalties, premium pay, punitive damages, and interest; for failure to furnish accurate wage statements; for violation(s) under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”); under California Labor Code Sections 201, 202, 203, 204, 210, 226, 226.3, 226.7, 510, 512, 558, 1194, 1197, 1197.1, and 1198; for violation(s) of the California Business & Professions Code; and/or under the common law, such as conversion

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

KATIE O CONNELL MARSH VS GAUMONT TELEVISION USA LLC

On December 2, 2019, Gaumont filed the operative Second Amended Cross-Complaint (“SAXC”) against Plaintiff arising from the alleged employment and termination of Plaintiff, alleging causes of action for: (1) breach of contract; (2) conversion; (3) possession of personal property; (4) declaratory relief pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1060; (5) fraudulent inducement; and (6) fraudulent concealment.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

HACIENDA LA PUENTE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, A CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT VS LOS ANGELES COUNTY REGISTRAR-RECORDER/COUNTY CLERK, A PUBLIC AGENCY

Petitioner does not dispute that the District was required to comply with Education Code sections 5019-5021 and obtain the County Committee’s approval for the conversion to a by-trustee-area election system. (See Pet. ¶ 18; Barankiewicz Decl. ¶ 7, Exh. E [emphasis added].)

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Administrative

  • Sub Type

    Writ

632 N PALM DRIVE, LLC VS ADAN PENA, ET AL.

In the first amended cross-complaint, Gold alleges: . . . 632, OWNER and their agent RAL unfairly interfered with GOLD’s right to receive the benefits of the CONTRACT and unfairly frustrated the GOLD’s right to receive the benefits of the CONTRACT by making false claims for: [1] conversion of $103,000 based on taking money under false pretense for being used for materials for the PROJECT and payments made under applications for payments; [2] fraud by falsely alleging GOLD misrepresented such applications for

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

MICAELA LEYVA VS. KAREN BACA AN INDIVIDUAL

EC 065134 Causes of Action: From Complaint 1) Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability 2) Demand for Rent for Uninhabitable Dwelling 3) Negligent Maintenance of Premises 4) Violation of Unfair Competition Law 5) Breach of the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment 6) Nuisance 7) IIED 8) NIED Causes of Action: From (Mendoza) Complaint 1) Wrongful Eviction 2) Retaliatory Eviction 3) Conversion 4) Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability 5) Demand for Rent for Uninhabitable Dwelling 6) Negligent Maintenance

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

STEPHANIE SHIN VS JEWISH EDUCATIONAL MOVEMENT, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION , ET AL.

. & Conversion; (4) Violation of Civil Code § 1940.2 (Tenant Harassment); (5) Violation of Los Angeles Municipal Code § 151.00, et seq.; (6) Negligence; (7) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress; (8) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; (9) Violation of California Civil Code § 1950.5 (Wrongful Retention of Security Deposit); and (10) Violation of California Business and Professions Code § 17200, et seq. (Unfair Business Practices).

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

MITRA RASHTI VS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ET AL

Conversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another. The elements of a conversion are: (1) the plaintiff's ownership or right to possession of the property at the time of the conversion; (2) the defendant’s conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Discrimination/Harass

MIKE KALTA ET AL VS FLEET 101 INC ET AL

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION TO CORRECT JUDGMENT; MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS MOTION TO CORRECT JUDGMENT On June 20, 2018, after a jury trial, the Court entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs Mike Kalta and Greenfield Landscaping and Maintenance, Inc. and against defendant Fleets 101, Inc. (“Defendant”). The judgment awarded Plainti...

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

GARY PETERSON VS ALDABELLA CUSTOM CRUSH WINERY & STORAGE LLC; A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, ET AL.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY Peterson filed the Complaint on March 20, 2020, alleging seven causes of action: Breach of contract Conversion and misappropriation Fraud – intentional misrepresentation Fraud – concealment Breach of fiduciary duty Intentional interference with prospective economic relations Negligent interference with prospective economic relations On March 27, 2020, the Peterson filed the instant Motion to Compel Arbitration. No Opposition or other motions have been filed.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ILS PRODUCTS, LLC VS. BALBOA CAPITAL CORPORATION

Contrary to plaintiffs’ allegations of fraud, breach, conversion and unfair business practices, plaintiffs were aware or should have been aware that they were entering into agreements that provided for the payment to Balboa of additional prorated rent for interim periods, and UCC fees and costs that could include a profit.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

DAVIS TRANSPORT, LLC, A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, ET AL. VS CHRISTINE DAVIS

That motion indicates that plaintiffs propose to eliminate all causes of action to which the demurrer to the FAC is directed (intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, financial elder abuse, and violation of Penal Code section 496), and to state a new cause of action for conversion. The Court notes that the motion is not yet scheduled for hearing, but that should it be granted, it would render the current motions moot.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

THE HERTZ CORPORATION LLC VS ROMEO SOSA ET AL

THE HERTZ CORPORATION LLC, Plaintiff, v. ROMEO SOSA, et al., Defendants. Case No.: BC672636 order RE: petition to approve compromise of pending action The Court has reviewed the petition by Petitioner Manuel Guillermo Contreras (“Petitioner”) on behalf of Claimant Manuel Jesus Contreras (“Claimant”). Claimant was involved in a motor veh...

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

GUANGYU ZHAO VS FCC LOGISTICS INC ET AL

On September 4, 2018, Plaintiffs Guangyu Zhao and Bowei Zhang (collectively, Plaintiffs) filed a first amended complaint (FAC) against FCC Logistics and Jeremy Wong, alleging: (1) conversion; (2) possession of personal property and damage; and (3) declaratory relief.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA V. ASCARIE, ET AL.

Defendant Parvaneh Pourakber (“Pourakber”) purchased the Property in 2003 and since that time she and her family have created or allowed others to create serious public nuisances including, but not limited to: unpermitted construction and/or conversion of agricultural buildings to unsafe housing for residential tenants; unpermitted and unsafe electrical work; unlawful debris, rubbish, and disabled vehicle storage; connecting unpermitted dwellings to permitted and unpermitted septic systems; illegal discharge

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

JENNIFER IN-OK CHUNG VS ROBO GOLF, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

Third Cause of Action: ConversionConversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the property of another. The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiff's ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant's conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages.” (Lee v. Hanley (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1225, 1240, [internal citations omitted].)

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • Judge Elaine Lu
  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

CARR V. RODRIGUEZ

The Complaint and First Amended Complaint are framed in tort, for conversion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, Civil RICO, and a remedy of constructive trust and injunctive relief which are not really substantive causes of action in any event, see Camp v. Board of Supervisors, 123 Cal.App.3d 334, 356 (1981); PCO, Inc. v. Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 384, 398.) It had to be shown how the causes of action sued upon support the remedy.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

L.A. NOOSHA, INC., A CORPORATION VS RAPHAEL AHARONOFF, AN INDIVIDUAL, ET AL.

Complaint Plaintiff Noosha commenced this action on October 21, 2019, alleging causes of action for: (1) stop-payment on check under Civil Code section 1719; (2) breach of written contract; (3) breach of oral contract; (4) intentional misrepresentation/false promise; (5) negligent misrepresentation; (6) common count: goods and services rendered; (7) common count: money had and received; (8) unjust enrichment; and (9) conversion. The Complaint alleges in pertinent part as follows.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ROSEMARY WOODS VS RAZ INVESTMENTS,INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

DLD Defendants argue that a cause of action for conversion does not apply to real property or fixtures, and that a cause of action for conversion must show the intention or purpose to convert the goods and to exercise ownership over them. (Demurrer, pg. 19.) Plaintiff’s conversion cause of action is collectively alleged and uncertain. In addition, Plaintiff has not identified the goods that were converted by DLD Defendants that would be subject to conversion.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Quiet Title

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