Appeal from a judgment of the Justice Court of the Town of Clarkstown, Rockland County (Howard Gerber, J.), entered November 2, 2009.
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $1,000.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover the sum of $2,000 for a loan defendant failed to repay. After a non-jury trial, the Justice Court awarded plaintiff the sum of $1,000. On appeal, defendant repeats his claim that the loan was made to his girlfriend, plaintiff's granddaughter, and not to him.
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). Upon a review of the record, we find no basis to disturb the Justice Court's credibility determination that plaintiff made the loan to defendant and to his granddaughter, Cristi Romano, each of whom is jointly and severally liable for the loan. Based on the totality of the testimony, we agree with the court's findings that plaintiff and defendant intended to be bound to an oral contract and that there was a meeting of the minds (see generally Aces Mech. Corp. v Cohen Bros. Realty & Constr. Corp., 136 AD2d 503 ; Four Seasons Hotels v Vinnik, 127 AD2d 310 ). Consequently, defendant fails to establish that the judgment did not provide him with substantial justice according to the rules and principles of substantive law (UJCA 1804, 1807; see Ross v Friedman, 269 AD2d 584 ; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 ). Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.
Nicolai, P.J., LaCava and Iannacci, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: June 28, 2011
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