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Items were stolen and not given back by a family member, what do we do?

Lakeway, TX |

my friend was kicked out from her sisters house where she was living and her sister refused to give her belongings back. We have evidence that her sister has those things and that those things are my friends. My friend at first was pursuing criminal charges against her sister but didnt want her arrested at the time she was picked up by police because her sister had a child with her. The detective says nothing can be done about it and she wont get her things back or be able to press charges. This has caused an immense amount of mental damage and hurt. What can be done about it?

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Attorney answers 1


It is important to differentiate between two different types of lawsuits. First, there is a criminal action which is prosecuted by the State of Texas against an individual who committed a crime. Second, there is a civil action which is prosecuted by the individual who suffered the harm. In your case, it sounds as if the only legal remedies your friend considered were criminal in nature. That being said, your friend is entitled to bring a civil action against her former roommates for the civil equivalent of theft - conversion. As far as mental damages, in Texas it is quite difficult to recover for emotional pain and suffering in the absence of a physical manifestation of the symptoms. Additionally, unless your friend sought the care of a physician or mental health professional the burden required to collect mental damages is quite significant. Even if your friend isn't eligible to collect mental damages, she is entitled to recover the cost of the goods that were wrongfully taken by her roommate's sister.