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James Lapenna v. Mahal King

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK


March 15, 2011

JAMES LAPENNA,
APPELLANT,
v.
MAHAL KING, ALSO KNOWN AS MAHAL JACKSON,
RESPONDENT,
AND LAKEVIEW VILLAS, INC.,
DEFENDANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the City Court of Newburgh, Orange County (Peter M. Kulkin, J.), entered November 25, 2009.

Lapenna v King

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

Decided on March 15, 2011

APPELLATE TERM: 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS

PRESENT: TANENBAUM, J.P., MOLIA and IANNACCI, JJ.

The judgment, insofar as appealed from as limited by the brief, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the action as against defendant Mahal King also known as Mahal Jackson.

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

Plaintiff, a contractor, performed work for defendant Mahal King (King) also known as Mahal Jackson, on premises in Walden, New York (the premises), for which work King partially paid plaintiff. Asserting that she had incurred expenses to remediate inadequacies in plaintiff's work, King commenced an arbitration proceeding, seeking torecover the entire sum she had paid to plaintiff. In his award to King, the arbitrator set forth arithmetic calculations which included allowances for the sums King had paid to plaintiff and included an allowance of $9,300 for the "approximate amount of lien on property that [plaintiff] will receive when lien is cleared by [King]."

Plaintiff then brought this small claims action to recover $5,000 for work which, he alleged, he had performed at the premises and for which he had not been paid. At the non-jury trial, plaintiff asserted that he had participated in the arbitration reluctantly, that it had been his understanding that the arbitration would not necessarily result in a final determination of the parties' differences, and that testimony at the arbitration hearing had been confined to consideration of King's claims because plaintiff had declined, in that forum, to offer evidence as to his damages. He indicated that he sought to present his claim for damages in this small claims action. In the alternative, he apparently sought to obtain a judgment as a means to enforce his lien. Since he brought this action in the Small Claims Part of the City Court of Newburgh, plaintiff confined his demand to the $5,000 monetary jurisdictional limit (see UCCA 1801). The City Court dismissed the action, concluding that the action was barred by the prior arbitration.

New York applies a transactional analysis to the doctrine of res judicata, pursuant to which, "once a claim is brought to a final conclusion, all other claims arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions are barred, even if based upon different theories or seeking a different remedy" (O'Brien v City of Syracuse, 54 NY2d 353, 357 [1981]). Subsequent consideration is precluded "of all claims which could have or should have been litigated in the prior action or proceeding against the same party in a subsequent action or proceeding" (Parker v Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Co., 93 NY2d 343, 347 [1999]). " In general, the doctrines of claim preclusion and issue preclusion between the same parties . . . apply as well to awards in arbitration as they do to adjudications in judicial proceedings'" (Government Employees Ins. Co. v Town of Oyster Bay, 26 Misc 3d 34, 36 [App Term, 9th & 10th Jud Dists 2009], quoting Matter of American Ins. Co. [Messinger-Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co.], 43 NY2d 184, 189-190 [1977]).

In view of the foregoing, we find that the City Court properly concluded that plaintiff was barred, by virtue of the doctrine of res judicata, from litigating claims in this action which arose from the same transaction that was the subject of the parties' prior arbitration, which claims could have been raised in the arbitration proceeding. As substantial justice was done between the parties (see UCCA 1807), we affirm the judgment, insofar as appealed from.

We note that while defendant Lakeview Villas, Inc. was not a party to the arbitration between plaintiff and King, plaintiff presented no evidence against that defendant at trial, and makes no argument on appeal as to why it may have been improper to dismiss this action against that defendant.

Tanenbaum, J.P., Molia and Iannacci, JJ., concur.

Decision Date: March 15, 2011

20110315

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