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My ex destroyed all my belongings, is there anything I can do about it?

Hillsboro, OR |

She cut up all my clothes, legal papers pertaining to my tribal affairs & stole over 200 arrowheads that I personally knapped.

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Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes
Attorney answers 2


You could, in theory, sue her for conversion. This is a tort - a civil wrong, as crimes are criminal wrongs. You would have to prove that she had done this, and show the damage you'd suffered as a result. The damage might be the sticking point. You'd be entitled to recover from her the fair market value of the items destroyed, plus any costs you incurred as a result of her actions. Sometimes these things can be difficult to quantify. You'd have to be able to prove the value of each item, to a court's satisfaction, to win an award against her.

Note also that if you won, you wouldn't get a check right away. You'd get a money judgment, which you'd have to use to collect against her. If she earned wages, you could garnish those until you were paid; likewise, if she had money in bank accounts, you could garnish that. If you didn't know about her assets, then you could try to summon her for a 'judgment debtor exam' where you'd ask her questions about what she owns, and she'd be required to appear an answer truthfully. But in practice, all this takes time and effort - and, if you want to do it right, most likely an attorney, so, also, some money. So you have to consider, as well, when you're deciding whether to take action against her, whether she has anything for you to take. It is almost never worthwhile to sue someone who has nothing to give you.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:


I am not clear on a few details. Were you and this women married? Were you living together and not married? When did she take these things in relation to your relationship - like did she take come back and take it after you broke up? Is she a member of a tribe? Can you replace your legal papers? How valuable is the arrow head collection she took? Were these items located in a place that she legally had access to? Just need more info to respond.

The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what might be the law governing the area of the legal problem stated and suggest what might be the approach to finding a legal solution. Under no circumstances is this author acting as the attorney for the party who posted the question or as the attorney for subsequent readers to the question or response and no attorney client relationship is being formed. This attorney's comments are not intended to be a substitute for getting legal advice from a licensed attorney. A reader of this author's comments should never act on the information provided in these comments as though these comments were legal advice and should always seek legal advice in a personal consultation with an attorney in their jurisdiction before taking action. The information provided here is not intended to cover every situation with similar facts. Please remember that the law varies between states and other countries and is always changing through actions of the courts and the Legislature.

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