New York SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 2d, 11th and 13th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS
March 1, 2013
RUBEN SOTO, APPELLANT, --
MAN FONG PAK MEI MARTIAL ARTS, RESPONDENT.
Appeal from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Kings County (Carolyn E. Wade, J.), entered September 13, 2011.
Soto v Man Fong Pak Mei Martial Arts
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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 March 1, 2013
PRESENT: WESTON, J.P., ALIOTTA and SOLOMON, 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 principal sum of $275 from defendant martial arts school. At a non-jury trial, plaintiff testified that he had paid a deposit of $120, as well as three months' tuition, to defendant. He further testified that he had been unable to attend some classes due to scheduling problems, but also that he had been dissatisfied with the amount and quality of instruction offered, and that, as a result, he had withdrawn from defendant school. In this action, plaintiff seeks to recover the $120 deposit, a portion of the tuition he had paid, and the cost of two school shirts he had purchased and for which he had no further use. There was no testimony as to the purpose of the deposit or the terms for its repayment. Defendant's witness testified that plaintiff had only paid defendant three months' tuition and the cost of two shirts. He indicated that he had advised plaintiff of the need to attend classes. He further asserted that, at some classes, students were expected to practice their skills, and that he spent some of his time as an instructor for defendant observing students, rather than offering instruction in new techniques. Following trial, the action was dismissed.
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 ). Our review of the judgment is limited to whether "substantial justice has not been done between the parties according to the rules and principles of substantive law" (CCA 1807). The deference normally accorded to the credibility determinations of a trial court applies with greater force in small claims proceedings, given the limited scope of review and the often attenuated record available on appeal (see Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126 ).
Upon a review of the record, we find no basis to disturb the Civil Court's dismissal of the action. We therefore conclude that the judgment rendered substantial justice between the parties according to the rules and principles of substantive law (see CCA 1804, 1087).
Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.
Weston, J.P., Aliotta and Solomon, JJ., concur. Decision Date: March 01, 2013
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