Soldo v Aarris Architects, LLP
Decided on April 4, 2012
SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, SECOND DEPARTMENT, 9th and 10th JUDICIAL DISTRICTS
PRESENT: : NICOLAI, P.J., LaCAVA and IANNACCI, JJ
2010-3275 S C.
Lisa Soldo, Respondent,
Aarris Architects, LLP, Appellant.
Appeal from a judgment of the District Court of Suffolk County, Third District (C. Stephen Hackeling, J.), entered August 24, 2010. The judgment, after a nonjury trial, awarded plaintiff the principal sum of $5,000.
ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, without costs.
Plaintiff commenced this small claims action to recover for consulting services she had provided to defendant architectural firm. At a nonjury trial, it was undisputed that plaintiff had worked for defendant over a period of time and had been paid $3,000. A letter agreement, signed by plaintiff and by Nicole Hollant-Denis on behalf of defendant, was introduced into evidence, in which defendant promised unconditionally to pay plaintiff a balance owed of $5,100, regardless of whether defendant received payment from its client. Hollant-Denis testified, and adduced testimony of others, as to the inadequacy of plaintiff's job performance. This testimony was controverted in part; also testimony was presented that defalcations on plaintiff's part were due, at least in part, to plaintiff's inexperience, which was known to defendant, as well as to communication difficulties between the parties which were caused by defendant.
"On a bench trial, the decision of the 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, especially when the findings of fact rest in large measure on considerations relating to the credibility of witnesses" (Claridge Gardens v Menotti, 160 AD2d 544, 544-545 ; see also Perez v Garcia, 304 AD2d 544 ). "This standard applies with greater force to judgments rendered in the Small Claims Part, which is commanded to do substantial justice between the parties according to the rules of substantive law" (Williams v Roper, 269 AD2d 125, 126  [internal quotation marks omitted]). Here, we conclude that the judgment of the District Court was supported by the evidence and effected substantial justice between the parties according to the rules and principles of substantive law (UDCA 1804, 1807).
We note that we do not consider those arguments which are raised for the first time on appeal (see Schehr v McEvoy, 43 AD3d 899, 900 ).
Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.
Nicolai, P.J., LaCava and Iannacci, JJ., concur.
Decision Date: April 04, 2012