Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Nassau County, Second District (Robert A. Bruno, J.), entered December 12, 2008.
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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., LaCAVA and IANNACCI, JJ
The judgment, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the action.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff brought this small claims action to recover the sum of $1,050, which she had paid as rent, but which allegedly had been wrongfully applied to a broker's fee, even though she had not used a broker and had not agreed to pay a broker's fee. After a non-jury trial, the District Court dismissed plaintiff's action on the ground that she had failed to establish the amount she had paid to defendants, and so the court could not determine what amount, if any, had been applied toward a broker's fee.
The decision of a fact-finding court should not be disturbed upon appeal unless it is obvious that the court's conclusions could not be reached under any fair interpretation of the evidence (see Claridge Gardens v Menotti, 160 AD2d 544 ). This standard applies with greater force to judgments rendered in the Small Claims Part of the court (see Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 ). The determination of the trier of fact as to issues of credibility is given substantial deference, as the trial court's opportunity to observe and evaluate the testimony and demeanor of the witnesses affords it a better perspective from which to assess their credibility (see Vizzari v State of New York, 184 AD2d 564 ; Kincade v Kincade, 178 AD2d 510, 511 ).
The court's finding that plaintiff failed to prove how much she had paid to defendants, and therefore, that she failed to prove that any of her rental payments were taken as a broker's fee, is supported by the record. Thus, we find that the judgment provided the parties with substantial justice according to the rules and principles of substantive law (UDCA 1804, 1807; Ross v Friedman, 269 AD2d 584 ; Williams, 269 AD2d at 126), and the judgment is affirmed.
Nicolai, P.J., LaCava and Iannacci, JJ., concur.