A Common-Sense Approach To Conversion In Digital Age

By Harvey Wolkoff, Kait O’Connor and David Coriell (October 30, 2017, 10:26 AM EDT) -- Before the onset of the digital age, important personal and business files were all physical documents, printed on paper and stored in desks and filing cabinets. If those documents were taken by an unauthorized third person, an individual or business could bring a claim of conversion seeking return of the documents, or damages. Today, "documents" increasingly exist only in electronic form, stored on computers or in the cloud. This change from physical to electronic file storage has strained the application of the tort of conversion, which traditionally could be brought only for "tangible" property.

Courts have recently begun to grapple with...

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