In a recent case, the Court granted plaintiff's motion to amend and
add a claim of unlawful conversion to her complaint for unlawful conversion
of plaintiff's funds. Plaintiff was able to sufficiently plead facts
that defendant, a Delaware corporation that purchases consumer and commercial
debt portfolios for collection, unlawfully retained plaintiff's funds
for months, in violation of a court order authorizing its release. Defendant
had initially obtained plaintiff's money by means of a debt collection
suit and a default judgment in the Bronx Civil Court.
The alleged unauthorized action, however, took place when defendant failed
to return the money for several months after receiving the Bronx Civil
Court's order to do so "forthwith." Plaintiff's proposed
conversion claim rests on the allegation that defendant failed to return
the funds for months after receiving an order to do so, and the Court
agreed with the plaintiff in ruling that the pleadings form a sufficient
factual predicate for a claim for conversion.
Additionally, the Court opined that even if it is at least plausible that
Defendant's reason for the delay was that it had been waiting for
advice from its new counsel to return the funds, and that it only returned
the funds when it was instructed by counsel to do so, it would still not
be a legally excuse for the retention of the funds for such a long period.