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O’Keeffe v. Snyder

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Dukeminier

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 83 N.J. 478, 416 A.2d 862, 1980 N.J.

Brief Fact Summary. This is an appeal from an order of the Appellate Division by the Plaintiff, Georgia O’keefe (Plaintiff), against the Defendant, Barry Snyder, d/b/a Princeton Gallery of Fine Art (Defendant) for replevin of three pictures painted by the Plaintiff.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The statute of limitations for replevin will begin when the owner of the chattel should have through due diligence discovered facts that form the basis for a cause of action.

Facts. The Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging she was the owner of three small paintings that had been stolen from an art gallery. The Defendant asserted he was a purchaser for value of the painting, he had title by adverse possession and Plaintiff’s action was barred by a statute of limitations pertaining to an action in replevin. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Defendant on the grounds that complaint was not filed within the statute of limitations. The Appellate Division reversed and entered judgment for the Plaintiff, concluding (i) that the paintings were stolen; (ii) the defenses of expiration of the statute of limitations and title by adverse possession were identical and (iii) the Defendant had not proven the elements of adverse possession. On appeal, the Supreme Court of New Jersey determined there were to many factual issues to decide the case and remanded the case to the trial court to determine these factual issues. The Supreme Court ruled on some issues
of law to assist the trial court.

If chattels are stolen can title be acquired and later transferred to others regardless of their good faith purchase?
Did the statute of limitations for replevin bar this cause of action?
Whether the Defendant acquired adverse possession of the chattels?

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