Conversion Claim Cannot be Based on a Breach of Contract

On September 22, 2021, the Second Department issued a decision in Woodmere Rehabilitation v. Zafrin, 2021 NY Slip Op. 05039, holding that a conversion claim cannot be based on a breach of contract, explaining:

Woodmere also demonstrated its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the trustees’ third cause of action against it, which alleged conversion. While a contracting party may be charged with a separate tort liability arising from a breach of a duty distinct from, or in addition to, a breach of contract, a cause of action alleging conversion cannot be predicated on a mere breach of contract. Here, the conversion cause of action was expressly predicated upon Woodmere’s alleged breach of its contractual duties, and no breach of a separate duty was alleged. In opposition to Woodmere’s prima facie showing on this cause of action, the trustees failed to raise any triable issues of fact.

(Internal citations omitted).

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