(866) 635-2689 for Personal Injury or (866) 635-9402 for Criminal Defense
Find a Local Lawyer
Divorce (866) 635-6190
Personal Injury (866) 635-2689
Criminal Defense (866) 635-9402
Real Estate Law
UNFIT SMALL CLAIMS CASE LOST
One guiding principle at work in small claims cases is that litigants should be able to represent themselves and not need a lawyer’s assistance.*
To that end, small claims disputes are procedurally streamlined with certain aspects, such as rules of civil procedure and evidence, “liberalized” for the sake of simplicity and expediency. Yet, despite that flexibility, there are some formalities which still must be observed -- like proving your case.
In Horowitz v. La Fitness International, LLC, Horowitz’s Rolex watch and some cash were stolen from a locker located in La Fitness International’s premises. Horowitz filed a small claims case against La Fitness premised upon the theft of his personal property. When that case was dismissed, Horowitz appealed.
While Horowitz alleged that the Civil Court erred by finding against him, the Appellate Term, First Department, did not agree.
Prior to the case’s close, the judge asked whether Horowitz had anything to add, and during the course of the proceeding was permitted to submit several items into evidence, including photographs, a police report, and estimates of the value of stolen property. There was no indication that Horowitz was prevented from raising any objections during the trial and, in fact, he did not do so.
Ultimately, Horowitz was unable to demonstrate that La Fitness was liable for the loss. And, absent any irregularity, the appellate court found that “substantial justice” had been effected and affirmed the case's dismissal.
How fitting was that?
For a copy of the Appellate Term’s decision, please use this link: Horowitz v. La Fitness Intl., LLC
*While people always have the right to represent themselves, that may not be feasible, practical, or wise in more complex legal matters.
From Real Estate Law Blog posted 2007-04-20.