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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 April 10, 2012
PRESENT: PESCE, P.J., WESTON and RIOS, JJ
Appeal from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Kings County (Johnny Lee Baynes, J.), entered November 16, 2010.
The judgment, insofar as appealed from, after a non-jury trial, dismissed plaintiff's cause of action.
ORDERED that the judgment, insofar as appealed from, is reversed, without costs, and the action is remitted to the Civil Court for a new trial with respect to plaintiff's cause of action.
Plaintiff brought this small claims action to recover for personal injuries he had allegedly received as a result of being assaulted by defendant; defendant counterclaimed, claiming that plaintiff had injured him, and that, as a result, he had lost time from work. At a non-jury trial, each party testified to having received injuries from the other in an altercation. Following trial, both plaintiff's cause of action and the counterclaim were dismissed. Only plaintiff has appealed.
Upon a bench trial, the decision of the 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 ). This standard applies with greater force to judgments rendered in the Small Claims Part of the court (see Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 ). Here, however, the Civil Court indicated its belief that the litigants could only recover if they established, as a threshold, that the injuries for which they sought recovery were "permanent, consequential, or substantial." Outside the context of motor vehicle accidents (see Insurance Law § 5102 [d]; § 5104 [a]), there is no such limitation in actions for physical injury (see e.g. Lomonte v A & P Food Stores, 107 Misc 2d 88 [App Term, 1st Dept 1981]). Since the Civil Court dismissed plaintiff's cause of action by applying an incorrect standard of proof, the judgment, insofar as appealed from, did not render substantial justice in accordance with the rules and principles of substantive law (CCA 1804, 1087).
Accordingly, the judgment, insofar as appealed from, is reversed and the matter is remitted to the Civil Court for a new trial with respect to plaintiff's cause of action.
Pesce, P.J., Weston and Rios, JJ., concur. Decision Date: April 10, 2012
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