Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Suffolk County, Sixth District (Stephen L. Ukeiley, J.), entered March 31, 2010.
Decided on January 24, 2012
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 This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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., MOLIA and IANNACCI, 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 principal sum of $4,611.97 for breach of an alleged agreement by defendant to repay plaintiff for travel-related expenses that plaintiff had incurred on defendant's behalf. 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; Ross v Friedman, 269 AD2d 584 ; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 ).
The decision of a fact-finding court should not be disturbed on 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 ). 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 ; Kincade v Kincade, 178 AD2d 510, 511 ). This standard applies with greater force to judgments rendered in the Small Claims Part of the court (see Williams, 269 AD2d at 126).
As the record supports the District Court's conclusion that the payments made by plaintiff were in the nature of a gift to defendant, we find no basis to disturb the judgment. Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.
Nicolai, P.J., Molia and Iannacci, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: January 24, 2012
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