William Rudow (plaintiff) claimed a trust interest in real property held by his uncle Albert Fogel (defendant). William accused Fogel of breaching the trust, and because William was a minor, he sued Fogel through his father, Marvin Rudow. Fogel based his defense on an earlier action in which Fogel sought to eject Marvin from the property. In the ejectment action, Fogel and Marvin fully litigated whether the trust existed, and the court decided it did not. However, the court ruled in Marvin's favor, finding that Marvin had a life tenancy that entitled him to remain on the property. In the present action, the trial court ruled that William's assertion of a trust interest in the property was precluded by res judicata, since the earlier court decided such an interest did not exist. The trial court entered summary judgment for Fogel. William appealed to an intermediate court, which reversed the trial court's judgment. Fogel then appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.