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Conversion, Specific Chattel

Conversion is a claim that involves the wrongful use/deprivation of personal property. To prevail on a claim for conversion, a plaintiff needs to prove that (1) he/she was entitled to possession of personal property, (2) the defendant exercised unauthorized control of the personal property and (3) deprived plaintiff of his/her right to possession. Broadly speaking, then, conversion is any act of dominion wrongfully exerted over one’s property, in denial of the owner’s right or inconsistent with it. Walker v. Hanke, 992 S.W.2d 925, 930 (Mo. Ct. App. 1990). It generally occurs by a (1) tortious taking, (2) refusal to give up possession to the owner on demand or (3) by any use or appropriation to the use of the person in possession indicating a claim of right in opposition to the rights of the owner. 

Money represented by a general or ordinary debt is not subject to a claim for conversion. Generally, a claim for money may not be in conversion because conversion is only permissible when specific chattel has been wrongfully converted. This includes, for example, the withdrawal of money from a joint bank account. Dayton Const., Inc. v. Meinhardt, 882 S.W.2d 206, 208 (Mo.. Ct. App. 1994). 

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