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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 100553
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I moved from a rental house in California. When I moved in,

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I moved from a rental house in California. When I moved in, the house was in pre-foreclosure but I was not informed of that. Several months later, the house was sold at auction and a notice was put on the door for the occupants to vacate.

I moved three days later and and left over $300K of personal property behind with the promise from the person in control of the house (the former owner) that I would be permitted to return and remove my property.

Several days later, I tried to retrieve my things but the former owner would not let me have access. Several times again I tried to retrieve my things but was not permitted to get them. On one occasion, the former owner brought a few items out for me, but only about $10K of it.

My question is: "Is this a property damage suit from illegal conversion or is it a an unlimited civil suit?

I presently have little funds to employ an attorney and am considering acting in pro per.
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. Note: there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation.

The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiffs 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. Burlesci v. Petersen, 80 Cal. Rptr. 2d 704 - Cal: Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate Dist., 3rd Div. 1998.

Ergo, this is arguably a CONVERSION claim. In addition, punitive damages may be requested in cases of malice/fraud. Cal. Civ. Code § 3294(a).

Finally, I am compelled to note that you may have had the chance to FINISH your lease under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, which allows a tenant to finish up a written lease even if the home is foreclosed upon, or at least have 90 days if the lease is verbal. But since you moved out, this is not an issue, however, the conversion still is and is arguably a claim here.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So do I file as property damages?

Frederick,

To sue in state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state. Every cause of action has its own elements, and each element has to be satisfied for a cause of action to be successful in court.

Here, the cause of action is arguably CONVERSION, which is the cause of action that would be listed in the civil complaint.

Punitive damages may be requested towards the end, but this is not a "separate" cause of action but simply a request for punitive damages after all the complaints are listed (namely, in this case, CONVERSION).

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. Do you know of any place I can go to download a similar complaint to use as an example?

Frederick,

By chance, I do! See here.

Now the complaint is for BREACH OF CONTRACT,
MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED, AND FRAUD. However, it can easily be modified for CONVERSION only.

Hope this helps.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
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