law-conversion | theft | Texas Theft Liability Act | TTLA | conversion-of-money | theft | Texas Theft Liability Act |
TTLA

Civil Theft and Conversion

To establish a claim for conversion, a plaintiff must prove: (1) title, (2) right to possession, and (3) a demand for
the return of the property unless the possessor's acts manifest a clear repudiation of the plaintiff's rights.  El Paso
Prod. Co. v. Valence Operating Co., 112 S.W.3d 616, 625 (Tex. App.- Houston [1st Dist.] 2003, pet. denied).  In
his motion for summary judgment Manley argued there is no evidence supporting any of the elements of
conversion.
Samson v. Manley (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 6, 2009)(Anderson)
(
client' suit against his lawyer and opposing counsel, summary judgment on multiple causes of actions affirmed,
underlying suit:
workers compensation suit)  
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Justice Anderson  
Appellant presented no evidence proving he had title to a specific piece of property.  Further, he only states a
claim for “conversion" or “civil theft" without providing reference to any specific facts.  Therefore, he has
presented no evidence as to the first element required to establish a claim for conversion.  Summary judgment
was not granted in error on this claim.

Conversion

In issue one, Langhorne argues the trial court erred in awarding any conversion damages to Miller.  To establish
her claim for conversion, Miller had to prove (1) she owned, had legal possession of, or was entitled to,
possession of the aircraft,  (2) Langhorne assumed and exercised dominion and control over the aircraft in an
unlawful and unauthorized manner, to the exclusion of and inconsistent with Miller's rights,  and (3) Langhorne
refused Miller's demand for return of the aircraft.  See Hunt v. Baldwin, 68 S.W.3d 117, 131 (Tex. App.- Houston
[14th Dist.] 2001, no pet.).  
Langhorne v. Miller (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 4, 2009)(Seymore) (conversion of aircraft,
proof of conversion damages,
market value, owner may testify, quantum meruit claim fails)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Justice Seymore  
Before Justices Seymore, Brown and Sullivan)
14-08-00081-CV Danny Langhorne v. Kay M. Miller   
Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No 3 of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Linda Storey
Either interpretation, along with the other evidence set forth above, supports a finding that Langhorne assumed
and exercised dominion and control over the aircraft in an unlawful and unauthorized manner to the exclusion of,
and inconsistent with, Miller's rights.  See Hunt, 68 S.W.3d at 131.

The evidence was legally sufficient to support the trial court's finding in favor of Miller on her conversion claim.  
Accordingly, we overrule Langhorne's first issue.


ELEMENT AND PROOF OF DAMAGES ON CONVERSION CLAIM
A plaintiff must prove damages before a court may allow recovery for conversion.  United Mobile Networks, L.P. v.
Deaton, 939 S.W.2d 146, 147 (Tex. 1997).  The usual measure of damages for conversion is the fair market
value of the property at the time and place of conversion.  See id. at 147-48.  When converted property has no
readily ascertainable fair market value, however, the measure of damages is the actual value of the property to
the owner at the time of its loss.  Burns v. Rochon, 190 S.W.3d 263, 270 (Tex. App.- Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, no
pet.) (citing Crisp v. Sec. Nat'l Ins. Co., 369 S.W.2d 326 (Tex. 1963)).[6]  Damages are limited to the amount
necessary to compensate the plaintiff for the actual losses or injuries sustained as a natural and proximate result
of the defendant's conversion.  Deaton, 939 S.W.2d at 148.  A conversion should not unjustly enrich the
wrongdoer or the complaining party.  Id.


Langhorne v. Miller (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 4, 2009)(Seymore) (conversion of aircraft,
proof of conversion damages,
market value, owner may testify, quantum meruit claim fails)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Justice Seymore  
Before Justices Seymore, Brown and Sullivan)
14-08-00081-CV Danny Langhorne v. Kay M. Miller   
Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No 3 of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Linda Storey
In sum, no absolutely rigid rule applies to every state of facts in conversion cases.  Minter v. Sparks, 246 S.W.2d
954, 957 (Tex. Civ. App.- Dallas 1951, writ ref'd n.r.e.).  Instead, the appropriate result is compensation for the
injury.  Id.

L&L Crane Service, Inc. v. Continental Dredging, Inc. (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] June 5, 2008) (Nuchia)
(commercial dispute, storage fees,
breach of contract, quantum meruit, conversion claim)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Nuchia  
Before Justices Nuchia, Hanks and Higley
01-07-00083-CV L&L Crane Service, Inc. v. Continental Dredging, Inc.
Appeal from 11th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Hon. Mark Davidson

Buhman v. James Leigh McGaughy (Tex.App. - Houston [14th Dist.] Jul. 24, 2007)(Guzman)(partnership, oral
contract,
attorneys' fees, conversion)
Opinion by Justice Guzman
Before Justices Frost, Seymore and Guzman
14-05-01215-CV Larry A. Buhman v. James Leigh McGaughy
Appeal from 127th District Court of Harris County (Judge Sharolyn P. Wood)
Reversed and Remanded

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