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DeWeerth v. Baldinger

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
38 F.3d 1266 (1994)


Facts

Gerda DeWeerth (plaintiff) was a German citizen who claimed that she inherited a painting from her father. During World War II, the painting went missing. Years later, Edith Baldinger (defendant), a New York resident, purchased the painting from an art dealer. When DeWeerth discovered that the painting was in Baldinger’s possession, DeWeerth brought a diversity suit in federal court. The Second Circuit eventually ruled in favor of Baldinger. Later, in a different case, New York’s highest state court held that the state statute of limitations applicable to DeWeerth’s case did not require a showing of reasonable diligence in locating stolen property. DeWeerth made a motion for relief via Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5) and 60(b)(6), arguing that she would have won the case under the state court’s ruling. The trial court ruled in DeWeerth’s favor and ordered Baldinger to surrender the painting to DeWeerth. The trial court held that DeWeerth was entitled to a ruling in her favor to avoid the inconsistency caused by the state court’s ruling. Baldinger appealed. The case was then brought before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Walker, J.)

Dissent (Owen, J.)

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