In practice. A form of action which lies for the recovery, in specie, of personal chattels from one who acquired possession of them lawfully, but retains it without right together with damages for the detention. The action of detinue is defined in the old books as a remedy founded upon the delivery of goods by the owner to another to keep, who afterwards refuses to redeliver them to the bailor; and it is said that, to authorize the maintenance of the action, it is necessary that the defendant should have come lawfully into the possession of the chattel, either by delivery to him or by finding it In fact, it was once understood to be the law that detinue does not lie where the property had been tortiously taken. But it is, upon principle, very unimportant in what manner the defendant’s possession commenced, since the gist of the action is the wrongful detainer, and not the original taking. It is only incumbent upon the plaintiff to prove property in himself, and possession in the defendant At present, the action of detinue is proper in every case where the owner prefers recovering the specific property to damages for its conversion, and no regard is had to the manner in which the defendant acquired the possession.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
remedies. The name of an action for the recovery of a personal chattel in specie. 2. This action may be considered, 1. With reference to the nature of the thing to be recovered. 2. The plaintiff’s interest therein. 3. The injury. 4. The pleadings. 5. The judgment. 3.1. The goods which it is sought to recover, must be capable of being distinguished from all others, as a particular horse, a cow, but not for a bushel of grain. Detinue cannot be maintained where the property sued for had ceased to exist when the suit was commenced. 4. 2. To support this action, the plaintiff must have a right to immediate possession, although he never had actual possession; a reversioner cannot, therefore, maintain it. A bailee, who has only a special property, may nevertheless support it when he delivered the goods to the defendant, or they were taken out of the bailee’s custody. 5. 3. The gist of the action is the wrongful detainer, and not the original taking. The possession must have been acquired by the defendant by lawful means, as by delivery, bailment, or. finding, and not tortiously. Bro. Abr. ])et. 53, 36, 21 1 Misso. R. 749. But a demand is not requisite, except for the purpose of entitling the plaintiff to damages for the detention between the time of the demand and that of the commencement of the action.