[Cite as: 4 Misc.3d 135, 2004 WL 1717604, 2004 N.Y. Slip
Supreme Court, Appellate Term,
Maria CORREA, Claimant-Respondent,
July 1, 2004.
[Peter M. Agulnick, P.C., by Peter M. Agulnick for Defendant-Appellant]
[ Maria Correa, Claimaint-Respondent pro se]
appeals from a judgment of the Small Claims Part of the Civil Court, Bronx
County, entered on or about January 13, 2003 after trial (Raul Cruz, J.) in
favor of plaintiff and awarding her damages in the principal
Present: Hon. WILLIAM P. McCOOE, J.P., Hon. WILLIAM J. DAVIS,
entered on or about January 13, 2003 (Raul Cruz, J.) modified by vacating the
damage award and directing a new trial on the issue of damages only; as
modified judgment affirmed without costs.
The trial court achieved
"substantial justice" consistent with substantive
law principles (see CCA
1804) in resolving the liability aspect of this small claims action in
plaintiff's favor, since the evidence permits a finding that the defendant
moving company negligently damaged or lost plaintiff's personal property
during the underlying eviction process. The damage award is not sustainable,
however, since plaintiff presented no competent proof of the value, at the
time of the occurrence, of the property involved (see Henderson v. Holley,
112 A.D.2d 190  ). While most of the household items were not
marketable and had no market value, it was nonetheless incumbent upon the
plaintiff to demonstrate the value of the goods to her "based on her actual
money loss" (Lake v. Dye, 232 N.Y. 209, 214  ), as reflected by such
factors as the original cost of the items, their age and condition at the
time of conversion, and their replacement value (see 36 N.Y. Jur 2d, Damages
§ 86), elements conspicuously absent from plaintiff's initial trial
presentation. The ends of "substantial justice" (CCA 1807) will best be
served by affording plaintiff a final opportunity to establish her claim (cf.
Roundtree v. Singh, 143 A.D.2d 995  ).
This constitutes the
decision and order of the court.
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