law-TTLA | theft | common-law tort of conversion | conversion of money | conversion of personal property |

TEXAS THEFT LIABILITY ACT (statutory cause of action)

Under the Texas Theft Liability Act, an individual, corporation, or other “person” who commits theft is liable for
the damages resulting from the theft. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 134.001-.005. Theft is defined as
“unlawfully appropriating property or unlawfully obtaining services” as described by certain sections of the penal
code. Id. § 134.002. The section at issue here is section 31.03, which states
(a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of
property.
(b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if:
       (1) it is without the owner's effective consent;
       (2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or
       (3) property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law
    enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was
    stolen by another.
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 31.03 (Vernon Supp. 2009).

CIVIL LIABILITY FOR THEFT
Texas Theft Liability Act creates civil liability for theft. Under the Act, theft means “unlawfully appropriating
property or unlawfully obtaining services” as described in various sections of the Texas Penal Code. See Tex.
Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 134.002(2) (Vernon 2005). ...  theft of service under penal code sections 31.04
(a)(2) and (4).

TEXAS THEFT LIABILITY ACT CASES FROM HOUSTON COURTS OF APPEALS
Under the Texas Theft Liability Act, "'Theft' means unlawfully appropriating property . . . as described by Section
31.03 . . . Penal Code."  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code  ' 134.002(2).  Under Penal Code section 31.03, a person
commits theft "if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property. . . .  
Appropriation of property is unlawful if (1) it is without the owner's effective consent; [or] (2) the property is
stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another . . . ." Tex. Penal Code ' 31.03(a)
B(b).  Appellees' summary judgment argument and proof did not address any of these elements or establish any
defense to O'Kane's Theft Liability Act claim.  We conclude appellees' summary judgment motion did not
encompass O'Kane's Theft Liability Act claim.
Source:
O'Kane v. Coleman (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] July 1, 2008)(Fowler)(lease law, theft liability act
claim)

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