Replevin

Replevin - Helps You Get Back What's Yours

'Replevin' is the legal term for 'the court tells them to give you back your stuff -- right now'.

Our firm performs several services, from the mundane to the exotic, for banks, equipment rental companies, auto financiers, and debt collectors. One of the more mundane (albiet quite exotic sounding) is issuing a writ of replevin. Such writs initiate a special legal process that can place before judgment is delivered on a case, requiring someone who is unlawfully holding your property to give it back to you or face legal consequences. It is intended, among other things, to prevent a defendant from holding something important 'hostage' pending the results of a case.

Definition of Replevin

The legal definition of 'replevin' is 'an action originating in common law...by which a plaintiff, having a right in personal property claimed to be wrongfully taken or detained by the defendant, seeks to recover possession of the property and sometimes to obtain damages for the wrongful detention.' Let's look at an example.

Chase Bank loans a man several thousand dollars with the man's vehicle as collateral. The man never pays back the loan, and eventually Chase goes to court in order to legally force the man to pay back his loan. As part of the opening of their case, Chase has their lawyers file a writ of replevin on the vehicle. The judge, seeing Chase's fear that the man may damage the car out of spite and thus ruin the collateral, approves the writ and the ownership of the car is transferred to Chase Bank. A sheriff's deputy goes with representatives of Chase Bank to the man's home and insists that the man turn over the keys, registration, and other relevant items. Chase representatives leave with the vehicle.

Replevin vs. Repossession

This legal tool is distinct from repossession in that repossession is legally considered 'self-help', and needs no legal action. If you have the legal right to an object and you simply go and take it, that's repossession. If you cannot simply go and take it for whatever reason, you would obtain a court order commanding the holder to give you the item(s) you have a legal right to.

When Is Replevin Applicable?

A wide variety of situations:

  • To return stolen goods to the business or individual they were stolen from.
  • To transfer ownership of collateral for a loan that wasn't paid back.
  • To obtain an electricity meter from the property of someone whose electricity has been cut off and who shows no intention of paying their electric bill.
  • To get personal items back from the police after their evidentiary value has been exhausted.
  • To get items lent to another person back (generally after some sort of schism that has made you no longer welcome on their property.)
  • To get items rented out to a customer back after the rental terms are complete.

This is hardly an exhaustive list: the conditions in which this law applies are quite diverse.

What To Expect When You File

When you come to Schmidt Law Firm and tell us that someone else is illegally holding something that belongs to you, we will ask you a few questions. One of them will be to learn whether or not you have attempted a simple repossession and why not. Another will be whether you have any other outstanding cases pending against the person holding your belongings. We may also ask you to provide proof that you are the legal owner of the items in question.

Once we have all of the relevant information, our replevin specialist will write up the writ and file it with the court. If the writ is denied, you will have to go through a longer and more complex legal process to establish that you are in fact the proper owner of the goods in question. If the writ is affirmed, you will be put in contact with the sheriff's office, and you (or your representatives) will go with a deputy to collect the goods in question.

Replevin: it's our tool for making sure that they give you back your stuff -- right now. If someone is illegally holding your property, call for a free consultation Schmidt Law Firm at 888-459-3077.

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