SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS New York Supreme and/or Appellate Courts
December 20, 2012
EUGENE PHILLIPS, RESPONDENT,
NATALIE ORTIZ, APPELLANT, AND NOBERTO ORTEGA, DEFENDANT.
Appeal from a judgment of the Justice Court of the Town of Carmel, Putnam County (Thomas J. Jacobellis, J.), entered August 3, 2010.
Phillips v Ortiz
Decided on December 20, 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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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: MOLIA, J.P., NICOLAI and IANNACCI, JJ
The judgment, insofar as appealed from, after a non-jury trial, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $1,423.35 as against defendant Natalie Ortiz.
ORDERED that the judgment, insofar as appealed from, is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff, defendant Natalie Ortiz's former landlord, commenced this small claims action against Ms. Ortiz and another to recover the sum of $1,731 for rent arrears and for the cost of removing garbage left behind. After a non-jury trial, the Justice Court awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $1,423.35, representing $625 for rent arrears and $798.35 as the cost of two dumpsters used to remove garbage left behind by defendants. Defendant Natalie Ortiz appeals from so much of the judgment as is against her. Upon a review of the record, we find that the judgment, insofar as appealed from, 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 a 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 it.
Accordingly, the judgment, insofar as appealed from, is affirmed.
Molia, J.P., Nicolai and Iannacci, JJ., concur. Decision Date: December 20, 2012
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