Can I sue someone over a gift that was taken back?

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Can I sue someone over a gift that was taken back?

My father gave me a car as a gift and then he decided to take it back. So I am just
wondering if I can sue him for the car or the value of the car?

Asked on October 3, 2016 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends: when he asked for it back, did you--even reluctantly or "under protest"--give it back? If you did, you "gifted" or gave the car to him: if you gave it to him no matter how much he pressured you, in the law's eyes, you voluntarily gave him the car, and it is now his. Having given the car to him voluntarily, you cannot take action against him. ("Voluntarily" does not mean "willingly" or "happily": it means he did not steal it or use force or threats of force to get trom you.)
If he simply took the car without your permission, then you could sue him for its value and/or for its return (procedurally, it's simpler to just sue for the value, though you can settle the case with him by his returning it). You could also file a police report and press charges: taking a car without someone's permission is theft.


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