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Detinue Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

The cases below are from Brien Roche’s book Virginia Torts Case Finder which deals with all aspects of tort and in this case with detinue and also personal injury law.For more information on detinue issues see the pages on Wikipedia.


See Va. Code § 8.01-114.


2016 McGrath v. Dockendorf, 292 Va. 834, 793 S.E.2d 336.
Wedding ring was conditional gift based upon marriage. When marriage did not occur, wedding ring had to be returned.

1986 J.I. Case Co. v. United Va. Bank, 232 Va. 210, 349 S.E.2d 120.
Plaintiff brought detinue action, obtained property, and removed it from state and nonsuited. Plaintiff had absolute right to nonsuit. Trial court properly entered money judgment against plaintiff for value of property.

1985 Gwin v. Graves, 230 Va. 34, 334 S.E.2d 294.
Detinue is possessory action by which party seeks recovery of specific item of personal property and any damages occasioned by wrongful detainer of the property. Where property is in possession of bailee, cause of action does not accrue until there is demand and refusal to return or conversion.

1985 Broad St. Auto Sales, Inc. v. Baxter, 230 Va. 1, 334 S.E.2d 293.
Detinue action seeks recovery of specific personal property or its value from one who withholds property from plaintiff who is true owner or lawfully entitled to possession. Under sales contract, dealer had right to repossess in event of default. Plaintiff defaulted and repossession was proper. Detinue claim should have been dismissed.

1965 Vicars v. Atlantic Discount Co., 205 Va. 934, 140 S.E.2d 667.
Elements: (1) Plaintiff must have title and right to immediate possession; (2) Chattel must be of some value; (3) Chattel must be capable of identification; (4) Defendant must have had possession at some time prior to institution of suit.

1955 MacPherson v. Green, 197 Va. 27, 87 S.E.2d 785.
Action for detinue to recover letter and damages on theory that use of letter by defendant had injured plaintiff in his reputation and standing. In such action, damages can only be had for detention of article, and usually are measured by value of its use or hire while detained. This does not include damages caused by misuse of article.

1944 Douglas v. United Co., 183 Va. 263, 31 S.E.2d 889.
Detinue action to recover sums due for machinery sold under contracts providing for retention of title by seller.

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Detinue Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

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