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Ronald Sporten v. Stephan Samuel

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


June 14, 2011

RONALD SPORTEN,
APPELLANT,
v.
STEPHAN SAMUEL,
RESPONDENT.
RONALD SPORTEN,
APPELLANT,
v.
ROGER WILLEY,
RESPONDENT.
RONALD SPORTEN,
APPELLANT,
v.
DARREN DEMAILLE,
RESPONDENT.

Appeals from three judgments of the Justice Court of the Town of Southampton, Suffolk County (Barbara L. Wilson, J.), entered September 17, 2009. The judgments, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the actions against Stephan Samuel, Roger Willey and Darren DeMaille, respectively.

Sporten v Samuel

Decided on June 14, 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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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: TANENBAUM, J.P., MOLIA and IANNACCI, JJ

ORDERED that, on the court's own motion, the appeals are consolidated for purposes of disposition; and it is further,

ORDERED that the judgments are affirmed, without costs.

In each of these three small claims actions, which were consolidated for trial, plaintiff sought to recover the principal sum of $3,000 for services rendered. After a non-jury trial, the Justice Court dismissed the actions.

Upon a review of the record, we find that substantial justice was done between the parties in accordance with the rules and principles of substantive law (UJCA 1804, 1807). Applying the narrow review standard applicable in small claims actions (see UJCA 1807) and giving due deference to the trial court's findings of fact and credibility determinations (see Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 [2000]), we find no basis to disturb the Justice Court's dismissal of plaintiff's actions. The evidence, fairly interpreted, supports the court's findings that there was no proof of a contract between plaintiff and any of the defendants.

We note that to the extent that plaintiff may not have understood legal concepts and terms, by proceeding pro se, he assumed the risks attendant upon proceeding without the assistance of an attorney (see Roundtree v Singh, 143 AD2d 995 [1988]; Nawal v Silva, 20 Misc 3d 145[A], 2008 NY Slip Op 51875[U] [App Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists 2008]).

We further note that the issue of possible bias on the part of the Justice Court, raised for the first time on appeal, is dehors the record. This court is limited to reviewing matters contained in the settled record (see Chimarios v Duhl, 152 AD2d 508 [1989]).

Defendant's remaining contentions are without merit.

Accordingly, the judgments are affirmed.

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

Date: June 14, 2011

20110614

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