Appeal from a judgment of the Justice Court of the Town of Hyde Park, Dutchess County (John M. Kennedy, J.), entered March 28, 2011.
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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, dismissed the action.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover the sum of $1,269 for the towing and storage of defendant's automobile. After a non-jury trial, the Justice Court dismissed the action. 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 (UJCA 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). 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 ). Here, the record shows that, pursuant to a letter defendant sent to plaintiff, defendant forwarded plaintiff the title to her automobile as the agreed-upon payment for plaintiff having towed and stored the vehicle. Plaintiff retained the title to the vehicle, thereby belying his assertion that he had never orally agreed to receive the title to the vehicle as his payment (see generally Bubba Gump Fish & Chips Corp. v Morris, 90 AD3d 592 ; Czernicki v Lawniczak, 74 AD3d 1121, 1125-1126 ; Maffea v Ippolito, 247 AD2d 366, 367 ). Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed, albeit on grounds other than those relied upon by the Justice Court.
Nicolai, P.J., LaCava and Iannacci, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: June 11, 2012
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