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Can I sue a bank for conversion and receive punitive

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damages? JA: What state are you...
Can I sue a bank for conversion and receive punitive damages?
JA: What state are you in? And can you tell me a little more about the situation driving this?
Customer: West Virginia
JA: Are we your first resource? And has anything been filed in court?
Customer: I have an attorney "looking
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: but nothing has been filed
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
8/11/2016
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34,054
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
Verified

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Yes, a bank can, in the right circumstances, be sued for conversion and if you get a judgment against them then you can ask for punitive damages in the damages section of the trial. ]

There was a law passed in West virginia in 2015 which deals with punitive damages.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

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Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago

Here is an article describing the punitive damages law that was passed in 2015:

http://www.sutter-law.com/west-virginia-establishes-punitive-damages-cap-and-abolishes-joint-and-several-liability/

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Its super deep though and my attorney told me I can only sue for the face value of the instrument according to 3-420. So here is what happened. Im over the estate of my late father. His home was burned after passing away, the home went into forclosure waiting on the insurance check for about 6 months (even though I submitted ALL info to the insurance company). But upon the final arrival of the insurance check minus $7000 for demolition, the bank agreed to settle with me for a lesser amount than the final payoff, giving me the remainder of the insurance settlement.The demolition check (the above stated $7000) that was sent to the county clerk was returned to the insurance since the county clerk said they dont deal with that type of thing. I sent the insurance company a copy of the letter from the bank stating that the mortgage load was paid in full. However the insurance company sent the check to the bank anyway, making it out to the account of the estate. The bank has had that money since September 2015, almost a year. They wont give it to me and I need to do the cleanup so I can make it a commercial property. To date, according to the potential of the property for rentals, I have missed out on almost $80,000. Let alone sentimental value. What direction is my best bet?
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
By the way, No case has been filed and we have not went to court as of yet
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago

Probably your best bet is a case for breach of contract and or conversion. Punitive damages are rarely awarded and are usually just a waste of time even trying for them unless you can prove that the defendant did something in purpose. You would probably be better off not going for punitive damages and instead going for the missed rentals.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
What do you mean going for the missed rentals?
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
also, I was supposed to sign in place of my father as administrator and I did no such thing. However the check had been cashed according to the insurance company and several bank reps.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Also, the law in 2015 was passed for civil actions....can that include suing the bank?
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago

You state you had missed out on almost $80,000 in rentals. You would want to sue for those as well, assuming that you can prove them.

I haven't studied up on the 2015 law's legislative history but suing the bank is a civil action.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I was planning last year to place/build homes on the 2 acres of property and turn it into a mobile home park. I cannot do that because I need to get the fire debris cleaned up, which is what that $7000 for supposed to be for. So Im not going to go get loans and invest into damaged property.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
But of course, the bank is holding me back
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I cant prove anything because I cant do anything with the property
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago

You can still sue and prove your damages, even without actually doing the clean up, by using an expert to testify as to the damages.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
There was only one home, my late dad's home that burnt completely. I need to clean THAT up before I can place rental units on the property. I hope that is a little more clean.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
clear
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago

Yes, but it doesn't really change my answer. You can still have an expert testify as to what would have happened if you would have managed to get the land cleared and rentd it out. Almost anything in a lawsuit can be proven through the use of experts and their testimony.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
What type of expert? realtor?
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago

It depends on the type of expert testimony you need. You use whatever kind of expert proves those specific kinds of damages.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Hi, I've looked into the law of the site you sent me for punitive damages, however it has nothing to do with conversion in which I asked. According to the code, it is about "criminal trespassing of property." So my question wasn't answered. I need proof of law stating that suit against the bank, not protected by or possibly state modified ucc 3-420, can be accomplished. Because I was told that banks are protected from punitive damages associated with conversion according to UCC 3-420. Do you have any other source for that which I'm asking?
Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 1 year ago

I'm going to opt out and let someone else assist you since the link I gave you is as directly on point as it is possible to be with a statute that is less than year old. You have to understand the principles of the law to understand how to apply the statutes.

I wish you well.

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Lawyer: socrateaser, Lawyer replied 1 year ago
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39,369
Experience: Retired (mostly)
Verified

Hello,

Different contributor here. Please permit me to assist.

There is only one West Virginia case that discusses UCC 3-420: Public Citizen, Inc. v. First Nat. Bank, 480 S.E.2d 538, 198 W. Va. 329 (1996) -- and it does so only in passing. Consequently, cases from other jurisdictions must be reviewed.

The most exhaustive case discussion that I can find is: Halifax Corp. v. Wachovia Bank, 604 S.E.2d 403, 268 Va. 641 (2004). The issue devolves to whether or not 3-420 provides a complete bar to a conversion cause of action with respect to an instrument/check negotiated through a bank. Punitive damages for conversion, once the conversion is proved, is a given. See, e.g., State ex rel. Harper-Adams v. Murray, 680 S.E.2d 101, 224 W. Va. 86 (2009).

If you need more case law cites, I can provide them -- however, I can only do so as part of a premium services offer -- because research takes considerable time (frequently several hours), and as I pay a considerable monthly subscription to maintain access to the Westlaw(r) proprietary legal research system (the same system used by every state and federal court of appeals, supreme court and major U.S. law school), I need to know that I will be compensated appropriately for my additional efforts in completely analyzing the substantive legal issues on your behalf.

I will send you the premium services offer, which you may accept or decline at your convenience. If you decline, I understand entirely.

That said, I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
would you be interested in representing my case?
Lawyer: socrateaser, Lawyer replied 1 year ago

I'm not licensed to practice in West Virginia. So, the most that I could lawfully do is act in the capacity of a legal researcher.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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Lawyer: socrateaser, Lawyer replied 1 year ago

Hello again,

I see that you have reviewed my answer, but that you have not provided a rating. Do you need any further clarification concerning my answer, or is everything satisfactory?

If you need further clarification, concerning this matter, please feel free to ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) – otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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