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Russell-Vaughn Ford, Inc. v. Rouse

Alabama Supreme Court
206 So. 2d 371 (1968)


Facts

E.W. Rouse (plaintiff) took his Falcon to Russell-Vaughan Ford, Inc. (defendant) to discuss trading it in for a new Ford. A salesman took Rouse’s keys to the Falcon while Rouse looked at new cars. The salesman offered to trade a new Ford for the Falcon plus $2,400. Rouse declined and asked for his keys back. Two salesmen said they did not know where the keys were. Rouse said several salesmen and mechanics were sitting around laughing at him. Rouse called the police. Shortly after an officer arrived, a salesman threw the keys to Rouse, saying he was a “cry baby” and that “they just wanted to see him cry for a while.” Rouse sued the dealership for conversion. During trial, one salesman testified that it was common practice in the car business to “lose” potential customer’s keys. The jury awarded Rouse $5,000. The dealership appealed, arguing that if anything, it converted Rouse’s keys, not the Falcon. The dealership also argued no conversion arose because Rouse could have called his wife to bring him his extra set of keys, allowing him to drive the car.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Simpson, J.)

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