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Lazar Mandler v. 71-11 Yellowstone Blvd. Corp

January 24, 2012

LAZAR MANDLER,
APPELLANT,
v.
71-11 YELLOWSTONE BLVD. CORP.,
RESPONDENT.



Appeal from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Queens County (Joseph Esposito, J.), entered June 8, 2010. The judgment, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the action.

Mandler v 71-11 Yellowstone Blvd. Corp.

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 January 24, 2012

PRESENT: WESTON, J.P., GOLIA and RIOS, JJ

ORDERED that the judgment is reversed, without costs, and judgment is directed to be entered in favor of plaintiff in the principal sum of $869.23.

Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover the sum of $869.23 from defendant, his landlord, for property damage that occurred when landlord's employee removed wallpaper in his cooperative apartment in order to repair a leak emanating from the ceiling. After a non-jury trial, the Civil Court found that, under the terms of the proprietary lease, defendant was not liable for the repair or replacement of the wallpaper and dismissed the action.

On appeal, plaintiff argues that the trial court erred because defendant had caused the damage, and the issue was not one of plaintiff's maintaining the interior of the apartment as required by the lease. A review of the record reveals that there is no dispute that defendant caused the damage when it repaired the leak emanating from the ceiling. Accordingly, as the judgment did not provide 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]), it is reversed and judgment is directed to be entered in favor of plaintiff in the principal sum of $869.23.

Weston, J.P., and Rios, J., concur.

Golia, J., dissents in a separate memorandum.

Golia, J., dissents and votes to affirm the judgment in the following memorandum:

A decision rendered in a Small Claims Part of a court may only be disturbed by an appellate court if it is found "that substantial justice [w]as not . . . done between the parties according to the rules and principles of substantive law" (CCA 1807).

The most basic principle governing contract law holds that a contract "be enforced according to its terms" (South Rd. Assoc., LLC v International Bus. Machs. Corp., 4 NY3d 272, 277 [2005] [internal quotation marks omitted]). As the small claims court's decision resulted from a strict application of the terms of the ...


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