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Thyroff v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of New York
864 N.E.2d 1272 (2007)


Facts

Thyroff (plaintiff) worked for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (Nationwide) (defendant). Nationwide provided computer hardware and software (the AOA system) to Thyroff to facilitate data collection and entry, which Thyroff also used for personal email and data storage. Nationwide terminated Thyroff’s employment, and repossessed the AOA system. As a result, Thyroff was unable to access his business and personal information from the computers. Thyroff brought a claim against Nationwide for conversion of his business and personal information. The trial court held that the complaint did not state a cause of action for conversion and granted a motion to dismiss the claim. The Second Circuit certified the question to this court of whether the common law tort of conversion applies to intangible property such as electronic computer data.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Graffeo, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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