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Can I sue someone for borrowing items a period of time ago, and never returning them.

Morgantown, WV |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

A past friend of mine has a few of my family and I's possessions . She stayed with us for a couple of weeks and over that time we would let her and her boyfriend borrow clothes from us . She moved out but still has our stuff . My mother and I have asked repeatedly for her to return our stuff back and its got to the point to where she doesn't even reply and she has blocked me from face book . I want to know what legal action I can take to assure that I can get my stuff back and compensated for the time its taken to get it back .

Attorney Answers 2


You are going to have to prove that providing these items was a loan, and not a gift. Your most likely forum is your local small claims court. Contact the court clerk to learn what to do to get the suit going. If you win, you will be entitled to return of the items or their value, but it is unlikely you'll be conpensated for your time in pursuing this.

To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.

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Well you have to first ask yourself if it is worth the time and effort to pursue this issue? If so, depending on the value, you can pursue the friend and her boyfriend in small claims court for the return the items or in the alternative their fair market value? You will be entitled to that and court costs, but not for the time you spent litigating the case. You could also ask for an amount for punitive or exemplary damages for their wrongful taking of your belongings, but many small claims courts generally do not allow for such damages? You could also consider advising your friend that if she fails to return all the items in good condition, this constitutes theft and you will call the police if she does not return the items immediately? Many police departments will not get involved and will tell you it is a civil matter, but if it is theft over a cetain amount, it can be a felony! You will need to make sure you can prove the itms are yours, pictures, purchase receipts, credit card statements can help you prove this. Good Luck.

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.

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