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Paul O. Hynard v. Ravine Garden Condo. Assoc

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


April 4, 2013

PAUL O. HYNARD,
APPELLANT,
v.
RAVINE GARDEN CONDO. ASSOC.,
RESPONDENT.

Appeal from a judgment of the City Court of Yonkers, Westchester County (Robert C. Cerrato, J.), entered December 19, 2011.

Hynard v Ravine Garden Condo. Assoc.

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This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.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 April 4, 2013

PRESENT: IANNACCI, J.P., MARANO and TOLBERT, JJ

The judgment, after a non-jury trial, dismissed the action.

ORDERED that the judgment is reversed, without costs, and the action is remitted to the City Court of Yonkers for further proceedings in accordance with the decision herein.

Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover the sum of $1,050, based on his alleged payment of late fees which, he claimed, had been improperly charged to him by defendant. At a non-jury trial, defendant purported to appear by Leonard Cole, who identified himself as an employee of defendant's managing agent, Prime Locations, Inc. Cole testified that defendant was a corporation. He further stated that as defendant's property manager, Prime Locations, Inc., determined the amounts defendant charged to unit owners of defendant, and that after Prime Locations, Inc. had assumed the management of defendant in 2010, it had canceled all unauthorized charges which had previously been assessed by defendant against plaintiff. Following the trial, the City Court dismissed the action.

A corporation may appear in the defense of a small claims action by "an attorney as well as by any authorized officer, director or employee of the corporation" (UCCA 1809 [2]). Cole did not fall within the narrowly defined class of persons authorized to represent a corporation in the defense of a small claims action, and we, therefore, conclude that the City Court's determination to proceed with the trial of the action failed to provide the parties with substantial justice according to the rules and principles of substantive law (UCCA 1804, 1807). Rather, it was within the discretion of the City Court either to adjourn the trial or to hold defendant in default. As the City Court has not yet exercised its discretion in this regard, we reverse the judgment dismissing the action and remit the matter to the City Court for further proceedings consistent herewith.

Iannacci, J.P., Marano and Tolbert, JJ., concur. Decision Date: April 04, 2013

20130404

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