In Maltezos v. Sony Electronics Inc., Alex Maltezos sued Sony Electronics, in the Small Claims Part of the New York County Civil Court, alleging he had purchased a "defective" computer.
There was a slight problem: Ms. Maltezos was unable to prove the existence of a defect to the court's satisfaction. As a result, his case was dismissed. On appeal, the Appellate Term, First Department, affirmed the dismissal noting that Maltezos had "failed to prove by competent and credible evidence that the computer he purchased was defective."
This case reinforces that expert testimony is critical--even within the context of a Small Claims case--when a litigant lacks the requisite technical expertise to support a claim. As a publication issued by the New York City Civil Court guides:
The testimony of a person who has special or expert knowledge and experience concerning the subject of your claim may be necessary for you to prove your case. For example, if your claim involves the quality of medical care, you must find a doctor who is willing to give an opinion, in court, about the quality of the care you received. While you might find an expert witness who will testify at no cost to you, it is more likely that you will have to pay for an expert witness testimony. You cannot use a subpoena to compel an expert witness to appear.Winning a Small Claims case ain't always easy. And, as you see from Sony, that's no baloney!
For a copy of the Appellate Term's decision in Maltezos v. Sony Electronics Inc., please click on the following link:
For a copy of the New York City Civil Court's publication entitled "A Guide to Small Claims Court," please click on the following link: