Inconvenience and expense caused to other. (Russel-Vaughn Ford/Car dealer) 1. Interference (extent, duration, and result) a) Russell-Vaughn Ford, Inc v. Rouse, (1968 Ala): Car dealer poked fun and hid keys for a couple hours. Took an hour before the keys were “recovered.” It was a scam. D has done this a number of times. Rule: Conversion is constituted by refusing to deliver a chattel without a legal excuse. Only need to establish one factor. i) No good faith because the salesman had done this before. ii) Policy reasoning for harsh punishment: deterrence b) Palmer v. Mayo (1907 Conn): Exceeding the scope of permission/consent. Horse rental chain P M (ok), but then M S C and C gets drunk and crashes the horse. Held – Conversion because the subsequent rentals exceeded the scope of permissible use. Rule: Misuse of property regardless of fault (accident or not) creates liability; Bailee (someone who receives prop from another and has possession/not title) is responsible for keeping prop safe until it’s returned. c) Wiseman v. Schaffer (1989 Idaho): Tow truck driver got a call to tow a truck and caller indicated there would be $30 in the visor to cover cost. Money was there. Call was a fake. Schaffer towed the truck innocently and was held liable for conversion. Incentivizes due diligence. Court favors the greater of 2 innocents . D intended to tow P’s truck and was liable for conversion even if he was requested to tow it by an impostor. Rule: If possessor is deprived of the use of the chattel for a substantial time conversion; D intentionally used/intermeddled w/ a chattel in poss. of another. Policy reasoning: Deterrence for future mistakes d) Spooner v. Manchester (1882): NL P rents out horses to D. D takes a wrong turn but tries to get back on track. Horse becomes lame and dies. Trying to return the property and acting in good faith. No conversion, depending on circumstances, for mistaken dominion. Rule: When acting in good faith (D did not intend to assume dominion over the horse against rights of owner) there is no intent for conversion. Person must wrongfully exercise acts of ownership. 2. Honor Among Thieves :
a) Anderson v. Goulberg (1892): ∆ stole logs from P, but P stole logs from separate person. Rule: One who has acquired the possession of property, whether by finding, bailment, or by mere tort, has a right to retain that possession as against a mere wrongdoer who is a stranger to the property. Hierarchy of title still applies to thieves b) O’Keeffe v. Snyder (1980): Sued to recover stolen paintings from years earlier, court held it was possible because title cannot rise higher than its source. Thieves cannot convey title because they never got it. (im pretty sure she lost) Rule: Thief acquired no title and could not transfer title to others regardless of their good faith and ignorance of the theft; Title cannot rise higher than its source; One cannot give what one does not have.
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