Rachel Lubell (defendant) purchased a painting from a reputable art gallery in 1967. Upon her attempt to sell the painting at auction in 1986, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (plaintiff), which runs the Guggenheim Museum in New York, came forward to claim the painting as its own. The Foundation claimed that the painting had been stolen sometime in the mid-1960s. The Foundation then brought an action for replevin against Lubell. Lubell moved for summary judgment in the trial court, and was successful. The Appellate Division dismissed her motion for summary judgment. Lubell petitioned for certiorari to the Court of Appeals of New York.