Appeal from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Queens County (Carmen R. Velasquez, J.), entered August 21, 2009. The judgment, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the action.
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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: WESTON, J.P., GOLIA and RIOS, JJ.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover $4,000 from defendant for use and occupancy for four months, from March 2008 through June 2008, and for conversion. After a non-jury trial, the Civil Court found that defendant had vacated the premises in May 2008, and that plaintiff had failed to establish that he was entitled to recover for the four months' use and occupancy or other damages. The court further found that the appliances which defendant had removed from the premises belonged to defendant. On appeal, plaintiff contends, among other things, that he did not agree to waive use and occupancy if defendant vacated the premises in May 2008 as defendant testified, and that the court erred in its findings, which were based, in large part, on the credibility of the parties.
Upon a review of the record, we find that the judgment provided the parties with substantial justice according to the rules and principles of substantive law (CCA 1804, 1807; see Ross v Friedman, 269 AD2d 584 ; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 ). 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 at 126). Furthermore, 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 the credibility of the witnesses (see Vizzari v State of New York, 184 AD2d 564 ; Kincade v Kincade, 178 AD2d 510, 511 ). As the record supports the trial court's determination, we find no reason to disturb the judgment.
Weston, J.P., Golia and Rios, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: May 12, 2011
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