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Did she delete the contents of the entire phone?
Yes. She reset the phone.
In theory, you could sue her for "trespass to chattels," which is basically a way to sue someone when they infringe on a person's physical possession of their property.
Here, the issue would be damages. Digital pictures have very little actual value, but often have great sentimental value. Unfortunately, you can't sue for sentimental value.
Below is more information on the tort of trespass to chattels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trespass_to_chattels
So, while you could make out a legal claim on a trespass to chattels theory, you might run into problems proving financial damages.
She kept the phone for a week while her son was with her and wouldn't return it until last night. We didn't know it was missing until her son said she had it. It's pretty much just malicious and mean. Her and the boyfriend have been in a nasty custody battle.
Thank You. I didn't think there was much that could be done, but wanted to make sure.
I don't mean to be discouraging, but, unfortunately, the law is what it is.
I know it is probably very dissapointing, but hopefully I've saved you potential attorney's fees pursuing what would likely be a fruitless claim.
Yes you have.