Ira Arnstein (plaintiff) was a composer who enjoyed some commercial success early in his career. As his career proceeded, however, this success evaporated. Cole Porter (defendant) was an extremely successful composer whose work was well known worldwide. Arnstein filed a copyright-infringement suit against Porter in federal district court, alleging that Porter stole several of Arnstein’s works and turned them into some of Porter’s most successful songs. During discovery, Arnstein was deposed and claimed that Porter’s employees broke into Arnstein’s apartment as part of a campaign of harassment. When asked if he had any proof to support these claims, Arnstein said he had none. Porter claimed that he had no knowledge of these alleged acts. Following discovery, Porter filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The motion was granted and the case dismissed. Arnstein appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.