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.
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 ). 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 ; Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 ). 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.