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.