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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 December 20, 2012
PRESENT: LaSALLE, J.P., MOLIA and IANNACCI, JJ
Appeal by plaintiff from a judgment of the District Court of Nassau County, Second District (Norman Janowitz, J.), entered July 12, 2010. The judgment, after a non-jury trial, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of only $2,800, and awarded defendant the principal sum of $1,000 on his counterclaim.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover from defendant, his former tenant, the sum of $4,990.10 for property damage to his house. Defendant interposed a counterclaim seeking the return of the balance of his security deposit in the amount of $3,800. After a non-jury trial, the District Court awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $2,800, to be satisfied from the security deposit held by plaintiff, and awarded defendant the principal sum of $1,000 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 (UDCA 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 determinations, we find no reason to disturb the judgment.
Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.
LaSalle, J.P., Molia and Iannacci, JJ., concur. Decision Date: December 20, 2012
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