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Jill Johnson v. Commercial Construction Technologies

New York Supreme and/or Appellate Courts SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS


March 6, 2012

JILL JOHNSON,
APPELLANT, --
v.
COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGIES, INC.,
RESPONDENT.

Appeal, on the ground of inadequacy, from a judgment of the District Court of Suffolk County, Third District (C. Stephen Hackeling, J.), entered August 23, 2010.

Johnson v Commercial Constr. Tech., Inc.

Decided on March 6, 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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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., LaCAVA and IANNACCI, JJ

The judgment, after a non-jury trial, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $78.

ORDERED that the judgment is modified by providing that the award in favor of plaintiff is increased by $705 to the principal sum of $783; as so modified, the judgment is affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover $5,000 from defendant for failure to complete work under a $30,000 home improvement contract, for overcharging her and for property damage. Defendant interposed a counterclaim to recover, among other things, the sum of $705 as the balance due on the contract. After a non-jury trial, the District Court found that plaintiff was due a total of $783, which sum was offset by $705, the amount plaintiff owed on the contract. Consequently, a judgment was entered in favor of plaintiff in the principal sum of $78.

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).

Upon a review of the record, we conclude that the judgment did not provide the parties with substantial justice according to the rules and principles of substantive law (UDCA 1804, 1807; see Ross v Friedman, 269 AD2d 584 [2000]; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 [2000]). While most of plaintiff's contentions on appeal lack merit, we find that the District Court erred in determining that plaintiff still owed defendant a balance of $705 on the contract. Plaintiff had submitted into evidence a signed final invoice by defendant's owner, in which he agreed to accept the sum of $3,645 as the final balance due on the contract, rather than the final balance initially specified of $4,350. Accordingly, the principal amount of the judgment awarded to plaintiff should be increased by $705 to the principal sum of $783.

Nicolai, P.J., LaCava and Iannacci, JJ., concur.

Decision Date: March 06, 2012

20120306

© 1992-2012 VersusLaw Inc.



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