By Alexander T. Lewis of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in Family Law on Friday, December 7, 2018.
Unfortunately, sometimes people take things from others that do not belong to them. The question then becomes “how do I get those items back?” While receiving money damages for your stolen property may often be sufficient, sometimes it is not about the money. For example, the wrongdoer may have taken a family heirloom of yours that has little monetary value, but significant intrinsic and sentimental value. As a result, you want that heirloom returned to you, not its dollar value.
In order to achieve this result in Virginia, you have the right to file a claim for “detinue.”
Detinue is an action that seeks to recover a specific item of personal property from someone who wrongfully withholds that property from its lawful owner. In order to prove your claim for detinue, you must prove that: (1) you have title and right to immediate possession of the property; (2) that the property has some value; (3) the property is capable of identification; and (4) that the defendant had possession of the property at some time prior to filing the suit. In the event that you succeed in your detinue action, but the property is unable to be returned or no longer exists, you will be able to receive the monetary value of the item that you were able to prove at trial.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your legal matter with an attorney, please contact Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. at (703) 591-7475 for a complementary, 30-minute consultation.