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Bushel v. Miller

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    Bloomberg Law

    Brief Fact Summary. Defendant moved Plaintiff’s property, which was then lost. Plaintiff sued Defendant for conversion. Plaintiff’s complaint did not allege that Defendant converted Plaintiff’s property.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Under the English common law, the elements of a claim for conversion must be specifically pled or else the case cannot be sustained.

    Facts. Plaintiff Bushel and Defendant Miller were porters near the Custom House quay. In a hut near the Custom House, porters are temporarily permitted to place their property in assigned boxes. Plaintiff put property to be delivered to another in front of Defendant’s box such that Defendant could not get to his box. Defendant moved Plaintiff’s property away to get to his box and did not return Plaintiff’s property to where it was. The property was lost. Plaintiff paid the rightful owner the value of the property. Plaintiff then brought suit against Defendant for conversion.

    Issue. Can Plaintiff maintain an action against Defendant for conversion when there is no allegation Defendant converted Plaintiff’s property to his own use?

    Held. No. Judgment for Defendant.
    Plaintiff was a wrongdoer for blocking Defendant’s way to his box. Therefore, Defendant had a right to move Plaintiff’s goods.
    Defendant’s failure to return the goods to where they were may be an action in trespass but is not an action in conversion. Therefore, the case cannot stand.

    Discussion. This case illustrates the strict English common law procedures regarding specifically pleading the elements pertinent to the cause of action stated in the complaint.


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