Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Texas Theft Liability Act (TTLA) Civil Claim Based on Definition of Offense in Criminal Code

CIVIL LIABILITY (STATUTORY) PREDICATED ON THEFT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY Under the Texas Theft Liability Act, an individual, corporation, or other "person" who commits theft is liable for the damages resulting from the theft. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 134.001-.005. Theft is defined as "unlawfully appropriating property or unlawfully obtaining services" as described by certain sections of the penal code. Id. § 134.002. The section at issue here is section 31.03, which states (a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property. (b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if: (1) it is without the owner's effective consent; (2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or (3) property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was stolen by another. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 31.03 (Vernon Supp. 2009). SOURCE: 05-08-01521-CV (Dallas Court of Appeals) (2/26/10)