Unlawful Conversion

“Conversion consists of a wrongful exercise of dominion or control over the personal property of another.”  Third Natl. Bank of Hampden County v. Continental Ins. Co.  “But the action may be maintained without previous demand where the defendant’s assumption of dominion over the property was wrongful from the beginning, so that the conversion was complete without the demand.” Atlantic Finance Corp. v. Galvam, and cases cited.

A plaintiff asserting a conversion claim under Massachusetts law must show that: (1) the defendant intentionally and wrongfully exercised control or dominion over the personal property; (2) the plaintiff had an ownership or possessory interest in the property at the time of the alleged conversion; and (3) the plaintiff was damaged by the defendant’s conduct.  See Evergreen Marine Corp. v. Six Consignments of Frozen Scallops, and cases cited.

The facts here demonstrate all the elements necessary to support motorist’s conversion claim: (1) the Selectmen intentionally and wrongfully exercised control or dominion over motorist’s personal money property when they received CMVI disbursements from the RMV that they paid in connection with the bogus CMVI; (2) due to their involuntary payment, a motorist maintains ownership or possessory interest in his money at the time of the conversion; and, (3) motorists are damaged by the Selectmen’s continued illicit use of their money.