In an action, inter alia, for specific performance of a lease and purchase option agreement therein, the plaintiff appeals from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Sunshine, Ct. Atty. Ref.), dated September 23, 2012, which, after a nonjury trial, is in favor of the defendant and against him, in effect, dismissing the complaint.
Ordered that the judgment is reversed, on the law and the facts, with costs, the complaint is reinstated, and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Kings County, for the entry of an appropriate amended judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant on the cause of action for specific performance of the purchase option agreement.
In May 1997, the plaintiff entered into a lease to rent certain premises for a period of 20 years. The lease included an addendum with an option to purchase the subject premises for the sum of $300,000. The premises were owned by Lisence Realty Corp. (hereinafter Lisence Realty), the principal of which was
After a nonjury trial, the trial court determined that the option to purchase was invalid because the plaintiff had induced DeSouza to affix his signature to the lease and addendum by purchasing beer for DeSouza before he signed them and because DeSouza was intoxicated at the time he signed the documents, and, in effect, dismissed the complaint. The plaintiff appeals, asserting that the defendant did not prove that DeSouza was incapacitated when he signed the lease and addendum, and that the plaintiff demonstrated that he was entitled to specific performance. We agree.
"In reviewing a determination made after a nonjury trial, the power of the Appellate Division is as broad as that of the trial court and it may render the judgment it finds warranted by the facts taking into account that in a close case the trial judge had the advantage of seeing and hearing the witnesses" (Hall v Sinclaire, 35 A.D.3d 660, 661 ). The burden of proving incompetence rests on the party asserting incapacity to enter into an agreement (see Adsit v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 79 A.D.3d 1168, 1169 ; Smith v Comas, 173 A.D.2d 535 ). To prevail, a party asserting incapacity must show that his "mind was `so affected as to render him wholly and absolutely incompetent to comprehend and understand the nature of the transaction'" (Sears v First Pioneer Farm Credit, ACA, 46 A.D.3d 1282, 1284 , quoting Aldrich v Bailey, 132 N.Y. 85, 89 ; see Whitehead v Town House Equities, Ltd., 8 A.D.3d 367, 369 ). "[N]either hindsight nor regret establishes incompetency" (Sears v First Pioneer Farm Credit, ACA, 46 AD3d at 1285).
The trial evidence also established that the plaintiff substantially complied with his contractual obligations and was ready, willing, and able to proceed with the purchase at the time he sought to exercise the option (see Corner Assoc. Holdings, LLC v H.V.K. Realty Holding Co., 63 A.D.3d 774, 776 ; CNR Healthcare Network, Inc. v 86 Lefferts Corp., 59 A.D.3d 486, 489 ; Roland v Benson, 30 A.D.3d 398, 399-400 ; cf. Huntington Min. Holdings v Cottontail Plaza, 60 N.Y.2d 997, 998 ; 3M Holding Corp. v Wagner, 166 A.D.2d 580 ). Accordingly, the trial court should have awarded specific performance to the plaintiff.