Civil Causes of Action - Replevin Law & Legal Definition


Replevin is a action or a writ issued to recover an item of personal property wrongfully taken. Replevin, sometimes known as "claim and delivery", is an antiquated legal remedy in which a court requires a defendant to return specific goods to the plaintiff at the beginning of the action. The advantage of a writ (order) of replevin is that it deprives the defendant of the use of the property while the case is awaiting trial, therefore increasing the likelihood of a quick settlement.

The plaintiff in a replevin action must have an absolute right to ownership of the property, and not be entitled to merely a temporary possession of it. The property sought must be of a unique and identifiable character. Therefore, a general amount of money cannot be sought under replevin, but a particular purse with identifable contents therein may be. Almost all states have made replevin an obsolete action, since the states have adopted "one cause of action" for all civil wrongs.