Emily Walsh and Jonathan Marks (buyers) (plaintiffs) entered into a contract to buy property from Linda Catalano (defendant). The contract obligated Catalano to return the buyers' down payment if they could not obtain an institutional lender's commitment to loan them the balance of the purchase price. The buyers successfully secured a loan commitment, but it was contingent on a satisfactory appraisal of the property. Then Hurricane Sandy struck. The subsequent appraisal showed that storm damage had significantly reduced the property's value. The lender withdrew its commitment, and the buyers sued Catalano to recover their down payment. The trial court denied the buyers' motion for summary judgment, and they appealed to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division.