A claim for conversion is based upon a person’s unlawful exercise of ownership or control over the personal property of another person. The exercise of ownership or control must be intentional and must have the effect of denying or repudiating the other person’s rights to the property.

A victim of conversion may recover compensatory damages, such as for the value of the property converted, plus interest. Punitive damages may also be available in particularly egregious cases.

A claim for conversion generally must be brought within three years of the date on which the claim accrues.

For information about other civil claims recognized in the District of Columbia, click here. For information about how to use this guide, click here.

[Sources: Douglas C. Melcher, Tort Claims and Defenses in the District of Columbia § 5 (2014), and legal authorities cited therein.]