Pearson v. Dodd, 429 U.S. 396 (1977)
The intentional tort of conversion can be defined as the willful exercise of control or dominion over a chattel, interfering with another's right to control it so significantly that the person exercising control over the chattel must pay the plaintiff for its full value.
Without getting the permission of Senator Dodd, two of his former employees made copies of key documents in his files and gave them to a journalist, who published an article with the information that they contained. Some of the documents included letters from petitioners and other office records. The Senator sued the journalist under theories of conversion and invasion of privacy.
U.S. Supreme CourtPearson v. Dodd, 429 U.S. 396 (1977)
Pearson v. Dodd
Argued December 1, 1976
Decided January 12, 1977
429 U.S. 396
Where, under West Virginia law, absolute title to appellant's oil and gas interest in land had vested in the State at the expiration of the 18-month period after sale of the interest to the State for nonpayment of taxes, during which period appellant might have exercised but did not exercise her right to redeem, appellant has no constitutionally protected property or entitlement interest upon which she may base a challenge of constitutional deficiency in the notice provisions attending the State's subsequent sale of the interest to appellee Dodd, and hence the appeal is dismissed for want of a properly presented federal question.
Appeal dismissed. Reported below: ___ W.Va. ___, 221 S. .2d 171.