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Greenworld Irrigation Specialists, Inc v. H. Keith Grossman and Marcie Grossman

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK APPELLATE TERM: 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS


March 1, 2011

GREENWORLD IRRIGATION SPECIALISTS, INC.,
RESPONDENT,
v.
H. KEITH GROSSMAN AND MARCIE GROSSMAN,
APPELLANTS.

Appeal from a judgment of the Justice Court of the Town of Clarkstown, Rockland County (Craig Johns, J.), entered February 13, 2009.

Greenworld Irrigation Specialists, Inc. v Grossman

Decided on March 1, 2011

Appellate Term, Second Department

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

PRESENT: NICOLAI, P.J., MOLIA and LaCAVA, JJ

The judgment, insofar as appealed from as limited by the brief, after a non-jury trial, awarded plaintiff attorney's fees in the sum of $900.

ORDERED that the judgment, insofar as appealed from, is affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff commenced this action to recover the sum of $1,000, plus reasonable attorney's fees, allegedly due pursuant to a contract under which plaintiff had installed a sprinkler system for defendants. After a non-jury trial, the Justice Court awarded plaintiff $1,000, plus attorney's fees in the sum of $900. As limited by their brief, defendants appeal from so much of the judgment as awarded plaintiff attorney's fees, arguing that the contract, which defendant H. Keith Grossman signed on the front, did not incorporate by reference the terms and conditions listed on the reverse side, which included a provision providing for the recovery of attorney's fees in the event plaintiff had to institute a lawsuit to enforce the contract.

A party who signs a contract is conclusively bound by its terms absent a valid excuse for having failed to read it (see Da Silva v Musso, 53 NY2d 543, 550-551 [1981]; Fleet Capital Leasing/Global Vendor Finance v Angiuli Motors, Inc., 15 AD3d 535 [2005]; Guerra v Astoria Generating Co., L.P., 8 AD3d 617 [2004]). Defendant H. Keith Grossman testified that he signed the contract with the intent to be bound by it, knowing that plaintiff would install a sprinkler system. He further testified that he intended to pay in cash, not by credit card, and that, accordingly, the contract price was reduced to $3,500. The agreement explicitly stated, above defendant's signature, that the terms on the reverse side were part of the contract, and those terms stated clearly that attorney's fees could be awarded plaintiff. Thus, defendants are bound by the term providing for attorney's fees (see Fleet Capital Leasing/Global Vendor Finance v Angiuli Motors, Inc., 15 AD3d at 536). The Justice Court properly held that defendant H. Keith Grossman's signature and date at the bottom of the page, authorizing payment by credit card, constituted his agreement to be bound, notwithstanding that "the signature was inadvertently placed in the wrong, albeit more obvious location." Accordingly, the judgment, insofar as appealed from, is affirmed.

Nicolai, P.J., Molia and LaCava, JJ., concur.

Decision Date: March 01, 2011

20110301

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