New York SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 2d, 11th and 13th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS
April 25, 2012
VANESSA L. BARONE, APPELLANT,
MICHAEL BROOKS, RESPONDENT, -AND- BARBARA ANN BROOKS, DEFENDANT.
Appeal from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Richmond County (Mary Kim Dollard, J.), entered November 22, 2010.
Barone v Brooks
Decided on April 25, 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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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: PESCE, P.J., WESTON and RIOS, JJ
The judgment, after a non-jury trial, awarded defendant Michael Brooks the principal sum of $1,351.34 on his counterclaim.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover the sum of $5,000 for breach of contract. Michael Brooks (defendant) interposed a counterclaim seeking to recover the security deposit paid to plaintiff in the sum of $1,900. After a non-jury trial, the Civil Court awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $5,000 and, in a separate judgment, awarded defendant the principal sum of $1,351.34 on his counterclaim. Plaintiff appeals from the judgment awarding defendant the principal sum of $1,351.34 on his counterclaim.
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 Roper, 269 AD2d at 126). 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 their credibility (see Vizzari v State of New York, 184 AD2d 564 ; Kincade v Kincade, 178 AD2d 510, 511 ). As the record supports the trial court's determination, we find no reason to disturb the judgment.
Pesce, P.J., Weston and Rios, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: April 25, 2012
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