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Victoria Goldberg v. Joseph Anton and Anton Adjustment Co.

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK APPELLATE TERM: 2nd, 11th and 13th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS Appellate Term, Second Department


December 23, 2011

VICTORIA GOLDBERG,
APPELLANT,
v.
JOSEPH ANTON AND ANTON ADJUSTMENT CO., INC.,
RESPONDENTS.

Appeal from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Kings County (Peter Paul Sweeney, J.), entered January 5, 2010.

Goldberg v Anton

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 23, 2011

PRESENT: PESCE, P.J., GOLIA and STEINHARDT, JJ

The judgment, after a non-jury trial, dismissed plaintiff's cause of action and awarded defendants the principal sum of $4,003.32 on their counterclaim.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover $5,000 from defendants for breach of contract and failure to provide proper services. Plaintiff had retained defendants to adjust the loss to her house resulting from a fire. Defendants counterclaimed, seeking the sum of $4,933.02 for nonpayment of their services. After a non-jury trial, the Civil Court found that plaintiff had failed to establish a prima facie case that defendants had breached their agreement and dismissed plaintiff's cause of action. The court further awarded defendants the principal sum of $4,003.32 on their counterclaim. On appeal, plaintiff argues that defendants breached the agreement and were negligent in performing the agreed-upon services. 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 [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]). 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 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 the credibility of the witnesses (see Vizzari v State of New York, 184 AD2d 564 [1992]; Kincade v Kincade 178 AD2d 510, 511 [1991]). As the record supports the trial court's determination, we find no reason to disturb the judgment.

Pesce, P.J., Golia and Steinhardt, JJ., concur.

Decision Date: December 23, 2011

20111223

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