Appeal from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Richmond County (Mary Kim Dollard, J.), entered May 3, 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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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: WESTON, J.P., PESCE and RIOS, JJ
The judgment, after a non-jury trial, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $1,500.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover for property damage to her automobile. After a non-jury trial, the Civil Court awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $1,500. 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 ; 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).
It is undisputed that defendant, who was operating plaintiff's vehicle, struck the rear of the vehicle in front of her. A rear-end collision establishes a prima facie case of liability and imposes a duty of explanation upon the operator of the offending vehicle (see Macauley v Elrac, Inc., 6 AD3d 584, 585 ; Levine v Taylor, 268 AD2d 566 ). Defendant's conclusory testimony that she was not negligent was insufficient to rebut the inference of negligence (see Macauley v Elrac, Inc., 6 AD3d at 585; Itingen v Weinstein, 260 AD2d 440 ). As the record supports the Civil Court's determination, we find no reason to disturb the judgment.
Weston, J.P., Pesce and Rios, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: January ...