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Heritage Jaguar v. Rudolph Catwell

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK APPELLATE TERM: 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS Appellate Term, Second Department


December 5, 2011

HERITAGE JAGUAR,
RESPONDENT,
v.
RUDOLPH CATWELL,
APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Nassau County, Fourth District (Norman Janowitz, J.), entered February 17, 2010.

Heritage Jaguar v Catwell

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 December 5, 2011

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

The judgment, after a non-jury trial, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $1,090.80 and dismissed defendant's counterclaim.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff commenced this commercial claims action to recover the sum of $982.31, representing the payment due for plaintiff's repair of defendant's vehicle. Defendant counterclaimed to recover the sum of $5,000, alleging that plaintiff had caused damage to his vehicle which had required him to replace the vehicle's engine. 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-A, 1807-A; see Ross v Friedman, 269 AD2d 584 [2000]; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 [2000]).

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 [1990]). Furthermore, the determination of a 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 their credibility (see Vizzari v State of New York, 184 AD2d 564 [1992]; Kincade v Kincade, 178 AD2d 510, 511 [1991]). The deference accorded to a trial court's credibility determinations applies with even greater force to judgments rendered in the Commercial Claims Part of the court given the limited standard of review (see UDCA 1807-A; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d at 126). As the record supports the trial court's conclusions, we find no reason to disturb the judgment.

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

Decision Date: December 05, 2011

20111205

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