Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Nassau County, Fourth District (Donald H. Birnbaum, J.), entered October 5, 2009.
Antoine v New Millennium Constr. Co.
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 August 26, 2011
PRESENT: IANNACCI, J.P., NICOLAI and MOLIA, JJ
The judgment, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the action.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover the sum of $5,000 for breach of a contract. The evidence adduced at a non-jury trial established that plaintiff had hired defendants to renovate her house for a contract price of $10,500, to be paid in three installments of $3,500 each. Plaintiff paid defendants the first installment of $3,500 at the commencement of the work but then refused to pay the second installment. Defendants stopped working and left the job. After trial, the District Court found that defendants had performed sufficient work to warrant the initial payment of $3,500 and dismissed the action. 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 (UDCA 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 District Court's determination, the judgment is affirmed.
Iannacci, J.P., Nicolai and Molia, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: August 26, 2011
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