Coffey v. Gerelli

Decision Date15 June 2017
Docket NumberNo. 2016–963WC.,2016–963WC.
Citation63 N.Y.S.3d 304 (Table)
Parties Harold COFFEY and Joan Coffey, Respondents, v. Donn GERELLI and Alana Jessie, Appellants.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Term

63 N.Y.S.3d 304 (Table)

Harold COFFEY and Joan Coffey, Respondents,
Donn GERELLI and Alana Jessie, Appellants.

No. 2016–963WC.

Supreme Court, Appellate Term, Second Dept., 9 and 10 Judicial Dist.

June 15, 2017.

Michele Bonsignore, Esq., for appellants.

Harold Coffey and Joan Coffey, respondents pro se.


Appeal from a judgment of the Justice Court of the Village of Croton–On–Hudson, Westchester County (Lisa R.M. Wolland, J.), entered April 10, 2016. The judgment, after a nonjury trial, awarded plaintiffs the total sum of $322.

ORDERED that the judgment is reversed, without costs, and the matter is remitted to the Justice Court for the entry of a judgment dismissing the action.

In this small claims action, plaintiffs, who are neighbors of defendants, seek to recover expenses arising from defendants' removal of branches from plaintiffs' pine tree, which overhung onto defendants' property. At a nonjury trial, plaintiff Harold Coffey testified that he had given permission to defendants to prune the tree, that he had watched the actual pruning, and that defendants had removed too many branches and caused substantial damage to the tree. Plaintiffs introduced into evidence, among other things, a copy of a report from a tree expert that recommended "[s]upplemental care" to "support the metabolic processes within the tree," although it concluded that the structural stability of the tree was the same as it had been before the trimming. Plaintiffs sought to recover the money they had spent for the report and for the supplemental care of the tree to date, plus money for projected expenses. Defendants claimed that the tree is healthy and that they had only pruned the branches hanging over their property. Following the trial, the Justice Court awarded plaintiffs the total sum of $322.

In a small claims action, this court's review is limited to a determination of whether "substantial justice has ... been done between the parties according to the rules and principles of substantive law" ( UJCA 1807 ; see UJCA 1804 ; Ross v. Friedman, 269 A.D.2d 584 [2000] ; ...

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    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Term
    • June 22, 2017
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