Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Hartford, Hartford
Susan G. Ellis
Town of West Hartford Opinion No. 133780
(with first initial, no space for Sullivan, Dorsey, and
Walsh): Wahla, M. Nawaz, J.
RULING RE MOTIONS POSTJUDGMENT INTEREST (#161.00 AND
November 4, 2015, the plaintiff filed a motion for
postjudgment interest (#161.00). On November 12, 2015, the
defendant filed an objection to the motion (#162.00). On
December 1, 2015, plaintiff filed a reply brief (#166.00) and
additionally on December 24, 2015, the plaintiff filed a
correction sheet (#167.00). On January 27, 2016, the court
entered an order denying the post judgment interest as
premature in accordance with General Statutes § 37-3b
(#167.86). The plaintiff filed a motion to reargue and
reconsider which was granted by the court. The court heard
argument from the parties on March 23, 2016. On February 10,
2016 and March 29, 2016, the plaintiff filed two supplemental
motions to reargue and reconsider (##172.00, 177.00).
argument and in her second supplemental motion to reargue and
reconsider, as well as, in all prior pleadings on the subject
of postjudgment interest rate, the plaintiff emphatically
advocates that an award of 10% interest rate is appropriate
and mandatory. To buttress this argument, the plaintiff
directs the court to the town's payment of 18% interest
on overdue taxes. Additionally, the plaintiff points out that
this court's prior denial of post judgment interest rate
under § 37-3b as premature was erroneous because of
appellate precedent, and also because the plaintiff never
made a claim under § 37-3b. The plaintiff seeks that
court's prior order (#167.86) should be vacated and
interest in the amount of 10% be granted.
STATUTES § 37-3a
review of the relevant statute and applicable case law is
quite instructive to the issue of presumptive
interest rate, as the plaintiff would like to describe it.
" [I]n the context of [General Statutes] § 37-3a, a
wrongful detention of money, that is, a detention of money
without the legal right to do so, is established merely by a
favorable judgment on the underlying legal claim, so that the
court has discretion to award interest on that judgment,
without any additional showing of wrongfulness, upon a
finding that such an award is fair and equitable.
Consequently, contrary to the determination of the trial
court, the fact that a defendant has a legal right to
withhold payment under the judgment during the pendency of an
appeal is irrelevant to the question of whether the plaintiff
is entitled to interest under § 37-3a." DiLieto
v. County Obstetrics & Gynecology Group, P.C., 310
Conn. 38, 48-49, 74 A.3d 1212 (2013).
§ 37-3a provides that interest may be recovered and,
therefore, does not require an award of interest in every
case in which money has been detained after it has become
payable. Rather, an award of interest is discretionary."
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 50.
[A]n award of interest under § 37-3a . . . is
discretionary with the trial court. Interest is awarded . . .
when the court determines that such an award is appropriate
to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of the use of his or
her money. Basically, the question is whether the interests
of justice require the allowance of interest as damages for
the loss of use of money." (Internal quotation marks
omitted.) Id., 54.
§ 37-3a . . . does not identify the factors to be
considered by the trial court in exercising its discretion
under the statute. Accordingly, the court is free to consider
whatever factors may be relevant to its determination.
Judicial discretion, however, is always a legal discretion,
exercised according to the recognized principles of equity .
. . Such discretion . . . imports something more than leeway
in decision making and should be exercised in conformity with
the spirit of the law and should not impede or defeat the
ends of substantial justice." (Internal quotation marks
omitted.) Id., 54-55.
Inherent [therefore] in the concept of judicial discretion is
the idea of choice and a determination between competing
considerations . . . A court's discretion must be
informed by the policies that the relevant statute is
intended to advance . . . As we have indicated, regardless of
whether a statute provides for mandatory or discretionary
postjudgment interest, the policy behind any such provision
is to compensate the successful party for the loss of the use
of the money that he or she ...