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Patricia Jacobi v. Town of Babylon

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


September 28, 2012

PATRICIA JACOBI,
RESPONDENT,
v.
TOWN OF BABYLON, APPELLANT.

Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Suffolk County, Second District (C. Steven Hackeling, J.), entered October 1, 2010.

Jacobi v Town of Babylon

Decided on September 28, 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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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: IANNACCI, J.P., NICOLAI and MOLIA, JJ

The judgment, after a non-jury trial, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $1,475.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.

Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover for property damage to her fence caused by a fallen tree. Following a non-jury trial, plaintiff was awarded the principal sum of $1,475.

The standard of review on an appeal of a small claims judgment is whether substantial justice has been done between the parties according to the rules and principles of substantive law (UDCA 1807). Resolution of issues of credibility is for the trier of fact, as it had the opportunity to observe and evaluate the testimony and demeanor of the witnesses (see McGuirk v Mugs Pub, 250 AD2d 824 [1998]; Richard's Home Ctr. & Lbr. v Kraft, 199 AD2d 254 [1993]), and the decision of a fact-finding court should not be disturbed upon appeal unless it is obvious that its determination could not have been reached under any fair interpretation of the evidence (see Claridge Gardens v Menotti, 160 AD2d 544 [1990]). The deference normally accorded to the credibility determinations of a trial court "applies with greater force" to judgments rendered in the Small Claims Part of the court, given the limited scope of review (see Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 [2000]).

The evidence adduced at trial established that the tree in question had been located on a "paper street" known as St. Mark's Place. It was undisputed that St. Mark's Place is an uninhabited parcel of land. Contrary to defendant's contentions on appeal, the District Court properly found that plaintiff introduced sufficient proof that defendant was the owner of St. Mark's Place and that defendant had actual and/or constructive notice of the dangerous condition of the tree (see e.g. Hilliard v Town of Greenburgh, 301 AD2d 572 [2003]). Therefore, the judgment rendered substantial justice between the parties 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 at 126).

Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

Iannacci, J.P., Nicolai and Molia, JJ., concur. Decision Date: September 28, 2012

20120928

© 1992-2012 VersusLaw Inc.



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