[4.] recovery of goods (by someone) taken from him, upon posting of security," mid-15c.,
[3.] from Anglo-French replevin (14c.) and Anglo-Latin (13c.) replevina,
[2.] from Old French replevir (v.) "to pledge, protect, warrant,"
[1.] from re- "back, again" (see re-) + plevir, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to pledge (v.).
The corresponding verb is replevy (1550s).
What semantic notions can explain the semantic specialization of meaning from 2 to 4?
The possessor doesn't possess, and so can't "pledge, protect, warrant", the good that she must recover from the tortfeasor.